The National Restaurant Association estimates that 30% of all restaurants fail in their first year. There are a lot of factors that go into creating a successful dining business. First, you have to get people to walk inside and spend their money on your food. And if your grub is delicious and you can give customers a great experience, there's a good chance that they'll be back.
While that second part is easier said than done, creating consistently delicious meals in high volume, and employing staff to help you to facilitate the sales of these meals is a tall order too. But even if you've got great food and dedicated staff if folks don't know about your restaurant, then drumming up enough business to make a living is going to be difficult.
Something that Jennifer Le's father, owner of Lee's Noodle House learned the hard way. Jennifer saw her father sitting sadly in his empty restaurant so she decided to record a clip of him and post it to TikTok, "It makes me so sad to see my parents just wait for customers to walk through the door to eat at their Vietnamese restaurant," she wrote in a text overlay of the clip.
The video shows off the beautifully decorated eatery. Holiday lights hang from the ceiling, tables are immaculately set as her father stands at the counter looking at the lack of diners before him.
She penned in a caption for the post, "tiktok do your thing & help support my parents' Vietnamese restaurant:( my parents haven’t been having that many customers & been feeling stressed dealing with financial issues. if you want to check it out, they make delicious Vietnamese food:) 1010 Hopper Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95403"
It didn't take long for TikTok to "do its thing" and to date her original post received over 138,000 likes and well over a million views, with commenters vowing to try out the location.
Jennifer's original clip was posted on January 18, 2021 and just three days later she thanked users on the app for their support along with longtime customers of her parents' spot for their patronage. Jennifer then posted several follow-up videos showing the response her video created: more diners started pouring in as a result.
She wrote, "The amount of love & responses from the TikTok community has been insane! also, thank you for the customers who have been coming for years too! the comment sections has brought my parents and I to tears. we are so grateful for all the support, and for everyone who is coming out"
Jennifer's dad said that the number of customers he received after his daughter posted about their family-run restaurant has been "night and day.'
In fact, business was booming so much that the restaurant posted a note on its official Instagram page apologizing to patrons for the longer-than-normal wait times, stating they are "so grateful for the love and support" they received from the community.
Commenters who responded to the post said that when they would visit the establishment they would find it "packed" with people with others remarking that it was "completely full."
While social media applications like TikTok can certainly be filled with annoying clout-chasers posting clips of themselves pulling off mirthless dance routines with vacant, inhuman smiles, it's nice to see it being used to help a hardworking family get the word out about their delicious grub.