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How Franchises Are Adapting Their Models To Go TikTok Viral

A novel operational pivot can bring a brand new audience on the video app.

By Justin Wick1851 Franchise Contributor
Updated 11:11AM 08/12/21

If a restaurant franchise implements a new service, product or operational measure that is fun, innovative and ‘TikTok worthy,’ they could gain some nationwide attention unlike ever before.

On Thursday morning, Kate Fowler of Newsweek wrote about a sushi business that took the dive into conveyor belt service and quickly went viral on TikTok. A location named Nippon Sushi allows customers to “prop their phone up on an empty plate on the conveyor belt, letting it film as it makes its way around the restaurant. The outcome normally involved joyous reactions from other guests as they smile or wave at the camera,” Fowler wrote.

The advertising power from that kind of virality can bring immediate business. Restaurant services have been forced to be innovative due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and some wild creativity can bring customers in just on novelty alone. A change to a restaurant strategy, one that gains TikTok traction, can do wonders for a nationwide franchise without the need of a heavy advertising campaign.

The sushi conveyor belt idea is just one way a restaurant business can lure customers in, but it’s no easy feat to predict what will be popular on TikTok.

A sushi conveyor belt is not intended for cell phones, of course, which is partly why the TikTok trend took off. Some customers aren’t happy to see a potentially dirty cell phone where their food is being served. Fowler notes “the practice has also been criticized by some who feel it's an invasion of privacy, and one sushi restaurant went as far as to put a sign up to deter visitors from attempting it.” 

While that particular situation may pose a health and operational hazard, other, more ‘safe’ implements for TikTok attention could be more sustainable to the consumer experience. With the help of some heightened creativity, other franchises might be able to promote a popular form of organic advertising.

A TikTok restaurant trend could put a franchise in a national spotlight for something that has little to do with their actual product. The attention might be short-lived, however, as a novelty is bound to wear off if others follow suit. Franchises will always need a strong service to sustain their success.

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