When your business goes viral on TikTok, it can mean almost anything. Sometimes, businesses go viral for all the wrong reasons, and the result is a widespread understanding that your business is either unethical or is serving up some low-quality products. There are other occasions, though, where going viral can seem like good thing, and that was definitely the case for Domo, a Japanese restaurant in Denver.
Why was Domo trending on TikTok?
Domo went viral on TikTok thanks to a wordless, 40-second video that showcased the inside of the eatery and the food that it offered. Following the release of the video, the restaurant faced a surge in popularity that it was entirely unprepared to handle. According to Westword, the day after the video was posted, there were more than 100 people waiting at the door when the restaurant opened.
In the weeks that followed, demand had surged so much that a line was created that was close to a block long, filled with potential customers eager to try the restaurant out. Gaku Homma, Doma's head chef and owner, said that he was befuddled by the surge in demand.
“I don't know why people come or what was interesting, because that video's only forty seconds, and there is no comment," he told Westword. "I told my students, it's very scary that one thing can have that much power.”
The increase in popularity was so extreme that eventually, Doma asked its regular customers to stay away.
"To our beloved & valued regular & repeat customers, please accept our apologies for the longer wait time than usual and for any inconvenience and unpleasant experience the current situation may have caused for you," Gaku wrote on Facebook. "We are hoping the current frenzy will subside soon enough. Thank you for your understanding.”
Doma closed for several weeks to regroup.
At the end of July, Gaku closed for several weeks so that he and his staff could regroup following the surge in popularity. When they did reopen, they did so with limited hours, cutting back from seven days a week to just Friday through Sunday from 11 am to 8:30 pm. The restaurant is also only seating 20 diners at a time, which means there can still be a long wait for a table.
The surge in popularity may appear to be a good thing, but many of the new customers are pushy and are eager to take selfies or film videos of their own inside the restaurant. Gaku told Westword that he was happy with the regular customers he had prior to the video going viral.
“Already we have good enough. We know, it was simple, like how much do we buy? Now we can’t tell, we can’t plan. Mo atama itai," he said. "I get a headache."
Domo's surge in popularity may not seem like a problem, but it seems to have caused its owner some pain. Becoming hugely popular brings plenty of cash, but it's not always worth the many headaches that come with it.