TikTok is launching a takeaway business called TikTok Kitchen, and we have questions.
The social platform plans to let people order dishes for delivery based on recipes that have gone viral, Bloomberg reports. Featuring baked feta pasta, corn ribs, a smash burger and pasta chips, the menu changes as new recipes go viral.
TikTok has partnered with GrubHub and a company called Virtual Dining Concepts (VDC) for the project. VDC is a platform that allows customers to license recipes and brands to create take-out-only menus to be served in other restaurants’ kitchens or in delivery-only restaurants known as ghost kitchens. Alongside TikTok Kitchen, it partners with YouTuber Mr. Beast to sell viral smash burgers as well as other influencers, media brands, and celebrities.
At the start, 300 kitchens will produce the viral dishes, with 1,000 planned by the end of 2022.
TikTok has 1 billion users and a lot of money. Even with 1,000 restaurants, we don’t see that as a large part of their revenue. In fact, TikTok says it will use the proceeds to pay the recipe creators. So what exactly is the point of delivering all that lukewarm food? It appears to be a marketing stunt based on the novelty of being able to order something you’ve been watching in a vertical video for countless hours.
Whether TikTok Kitchen is a stunt or a moneymaker, the concept is debatable.
First, the claim that TikTok will pay recipe makers is nice, but has many holes. Viral recipes often have more than one video that made them popular, and these videos aren’t necessarily from the creator of the original recipe. Take baked feta pasta: It first went viral on Instagram in a post by a Finnish blogger, but made the jump to TikTok when @feelgoodfoodie and @grilledcheesesocial clocked the trend and posted their versions of the dish. So who actually gets the loan and the money?
The answer seems to be that sometimes individual creators get paid, and sometimes that money potentially goes to TikTok creator fund.
« Proceeds from the sale of TikTok Kitchen will both support the creators who inspired the menu item, as well as encourage and support other creators to express themselves on the platform, in line with TikTok’s mission to inspire creativity and delight users. » to prepare,” says TikTok said TechCrunch.
It’s not clear if this means the creator fund will increase, or if TikTok just needs to divert less advertising money into the creator fund. With so little detail on how TikTok will identify and pay for recipe makers, TikTok Kitchen appears to be the way to go Another way The company makes money from the people who actually run the platform.
Beautiful, beautiful girls are taking over TikTok
Next comes the question of why someone would order this meal. On the one hand, it makes sense that eating something you brought to life on your phone would be satisfying. Who wouldn’t want to cut into an extremely intricate and beautiful cake after watching it The Great British Bake Off?
But part of the reason dishes are going viral, particularly on TikTok, is because they’re so easy to make. Baked Feta Pasta gives you a creamy, flavorful pasta sauce by simply melting a block of cheese with some tomatoes. Other viral recipes basically require a trip to the grocery store and an air fryer. Why order an easy-to-make recipe when you could get something for the same money that would take a lot more time and effort to make yourself?
The answer, of course, is for the novelty of it. Millions of people watched Emily Mariko turn her leftovers into a visually delicious salmon rice bowl, but likely only a fraction of those viewers actually ate salmon flakes for lunch themselves.
So the logic doesn’t hold up as to why a person would pay money to have other people make something that’s easy to make at home, but that doesn’t mean people won’t get those corn rib orders. In fact, people probably will — and then make a TikTok video of the experience. Maybe this half-baked idea is actually genius. Sigh.
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