(SURVEY) TikTok’s Major Influence on Today’s Dining Behavior
After finding last year that TikTok was significantly shifting restaurant culture, MGH set out to discover how much the viral app has impacted consumer dining behaviors.
Since the mid-pandemic boredom boom, TikTok has continued to grow in popularity among consumers of all ages – further solidified by the platform’s current user base of 136 million in the U.S. and 1 billion globally. From manifesting a resurgence in reading to selling stores out of seemingly ordinary products, the app has changed the way consumers are spending their money.
The restaurant industry isn’t immune to the viral kingmaker. In fact, our national study revealed that more than half of millennial TikTok users (53%) have visited or ordered from a restaurant after seeing the eatery on TikTok. While millennials are especially inspired by the social media platform, 38% of TikTok users across all generations — or approximately 51.8 million diners — have visited or ordered food from a restaurant after seeing a TikTok video about it. To put it into perspective, that’s enough diners to wrap around the Earth’s equator twice.
DINERS ARE WILLING TO PUT IN THE WORK
TikTok has cultivated a new foodie community for avid diners to get connected with restaurants outside of their usual neighborhoods and price ranges.
Not only is the app introducing users to new culinary experiences to add to their dining wishlists, but it’s converting into real actions taken. In fact, 30% of those surveyed have traveled longer than they normally would to visit a restaurant after seeing it on TikTok, and 28% have visited a restaurant that was slightly more expensive than the ones they usually visit after seeing it on TikTok.
In a world where mobile ordering and front-door delivery reign supreme, TikTok is able to motivate users to seek out unique in-store dining experiences that have them traveling longer distances than they ever would before.
When menu items and restaurant reviews go viral, there’s instant response from customers who are willing to put in the work for a foodie experience. Just days after Skirt Steak was reviewed on the popular foodie account @sistersnacking, over 100 people were waiting outside of the restaurant to try it out.
Recently, New Yorkers have been flocking to Brooklyn bakery L’Appartement 4F for their chance to purchase one of a handful of available boxes of mini croissant cereal, currently priced at $50. The TikTok reviews fuel the demand, driving customers to line up hours before the restaurant opens each day in hopes of getting to be one of the lucky people able to contribute to the #crossaintcereal hashtag that has amassed over 15 million views thus far.
FOCUS ON THE FOOD
Trendy vibe? Check. Convenient location? Check. But most importantly, don’t forget to deliver on the food.
According to our survey, the number one motivator remains simple: For most people, it’s the food. In our survey, 72% of TikTok users said the driving force behind visiting a restaurant after seeing it on the platform was appetizing-looking food. Subsequently, 45% of users showed up for a unique menu item.
The vibe also reigns supreme. Of those who visited a restaurant after seeing it on TikTok:
- 42% went because it looked like a fun place to go with friends or family
- 38% went because it showed a cool way of serving the food or drink
- 37% went because it showed a cool atmosphere
- 30% went because it had a great view
THE FUTURE OF RESTAURANT MARKETING
As TikTok continues to assert itself as a mainstay in our culture, restaurant brands and marketers must invest in creating space on this ever-evolving, fan-favorite app.
"What this survey shows is that this once-dismissed social network, TikTok, has completely changed the way people behave, where they spend their time, and importantly, how they spend their money," said Ryan Goff, EVP, Social Media Marketing Director at MGH. "TikTok truly is a restaurant marketer's dream-come-true. There aren't many other tools we have left in our marketing toolbox that can drive the sort of impact promised by TikTok through this survey."
It’s crucial that restaurant marketers continue to meet customers where they are – and that’s on TikTok. Especially in the current economic climate, the app has no cost-prohibitive barriers of entry, with high payoff on encouraging continued brand loyalty, wild potential for discovery, and higher overall ticket prices.
*Results are based on a national survey of 1,139 U.S. TikTok users. The survey was fielded July 16th - July 18th using SurveyMonkey Audience. The margin of error is +/- 3.06%.