Photo by Virtual Dining Concepts
TikTok is partnering with Virtual Dining Concepts (VDC) to launch TikTok Kitchens, a delivery-only service that will cook up some of the trendiest recipes on the app, first reported by Bloomberg. TikTok and VDC will reportedly open around 300 locations across the US to start, but plan on expanding to around 1,000 by the end of 2022.
TikTok Kitchens will operate out of existing restaurants, including chains owned by VDC co-founder Robert Earl, such as Buca di Beppo and Bertucci’s. It’s essentially a ghost kitchen service, but unlike some companies in this niche, VDC’s kitchens don’t appear to operate out of satellite, trailer-converted kitchens in parking lots. As the VDC’s description of the service notes, TikTok Kitchens will make use of a restaurant’s existing kitchen and employees but will provide the training, food packaging, and TikTok-sourced recipes.
To keep things fresh, the menu will rotate quarterly, given how fast viral content comes and goes on the platform. Bloomberg says that the menu will initially feature the viral baked feta pasta — which was apparently the most-searched recipe on Google in 2021 — air-fried strips of corn known as corn ribs, the crispy, cheese-covered pasta chips, as well as the smash burger. The creators who inspired the recipes on the menu will receive part of the proceeds, as noted by the press release.
“Creators will be receiving credit for dishes within the menu and will be featured prominently throughout [the] promotion,” said TikTok spokesperson Elena Saavedra in a statement to The Verge. “To be clear, this is a campaign to bring TikTok foods to fans, not a venture into the restaurant business.”
VDC has already seen success with MrBeast Burger, a virtual kitchen that the ultra-popular YouTuber, MrBeast, first launched towards the end of 2020. Bloomberg notes that MrBeast sold one million burgers in just three months, and that there are now 1,500 kitchens throughout the US, Canada, and the UK.