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December 22, 2021


TikTok’s strange entry into restaurants, explained

What do these stats all have in common?

The answer…

All of these products have been the stars of viral TikTok videos.

And TikTok is taking advantage of this…

…by delivering food items that blow-up on TikTok straight to its viewers. The social media company announced that they will be opening 300 delivery-only restaurants in the US in March 2022. And their menus will exclusively feature viral food items from the most popular TikTok videos.

Wait, TikTok is going into the restaurant biz?

Yes, but with a catch. TikTok will operate these delivery-only food kitchens out of existing restaurants, but will market their store on GrubHub as “TikTok Kitchens.” Grubhub will handle delivering orders to hungry TikTokers. And with TikTok now passing 1B monthly users, those kitchens may be hot.

Why does this matter?

Because you get to enjoy that cake you saw on TikTok and eat it, too. But more importantly, it’s a clear lesson for businesses everywhere: virality sells. When something goes viral, it’s now best practice to put out new marketing, products, or services that play on the trend. This is why Ocean Spray’s CEO put out his own TikTok recreating the viral skateboarding video that first boosted the company’s popularity.

But wait, I’m not in the food industry.

Don’t sweat it. There are tons of viral trends other than food that you can hop on. For example, during the Squid Game hype, Trainual put out a Squid Game-themed post that highlighted a pain point of our ideal customers. And it ended up becoming our most-liked Instagram post. Meaning, it pays to hop on viral trends to reach more potential customers.


Disrupting industries the right way

The idea

For entrepreneurs just getting their start-ups off the ground, focus on big, established industries.

The why

Trying to build a business in an industry full of established companies can sound like a bad idea - they’re full of competitors and it can seem like every idea is accounted for. But taking on a larger industry actually provides a lot of opportunities.

An established industry proves that people have the problem you’re trying to solve. All you have to do is find a better solution.

The idea is that you need to pinpoint where customers are falling through the cracks and create a business that catches them. And meeting those needs means changing how the industry is run. Because ultimately, you want to help remove all the inefficiencies from how the market operates. And that means establishing a new way of doing business as usual.

The how

When you think about disrupting an industry, you may already have one in mind. Maybe it’s a market that you care about or one whose problems drive you wild. In any case, you know that there’s room for improvement.

So, if you want to build an actionable way of inspiring change with your startup, think about these three categories:

  • Customer experience. How often do you tolerate a negative experience because you have no other options? Think about taxis, where consumers often cited issues with inconsistent service and rates. Enter ridesharing! Companies like Uber and Lyft have drastically changed expectations around hiring someone to get you from point A to point B. Industries where customers feel pushed aside are ripe for disruption.
  • Cost model. In the Blockbuster era, we used to have to go into a physical store to rent individual movies for $4 a pop (the horror)! But with Netflix's current subscription model, consumers can get unlimited movies and shows for around $10 per month. Industries that don't offer that kind of cost transparency are prime candidates for change.
  • Regulations. Rules and regulations signal that an industry is due for a shake-up. Previously, you could only buy stocks through brokers. But now, online trading companies have eliminated the need for brokers. So, even high-regulated industries can be turned upside-down.


This week's highlight reel

  • r/News. Reddit, the text-based social media platform, is finally going public. The company, last valued at $10B, has filed with the SEC for initial steps towards an IPO.
  • A better webcam. Hardware startup Opal is bringing studio-level quality to your Zoom meetings. The company builds cameras with an optimized camera and microphone to bring professional quality to your webcam.
  • Domination underway. Spotify has acquired podcast technology platform Whooshkaa, whose tech allows its radio broadcast clients to easily insert ads into their podcast content. The acquisition is part of Spotify’s plan to increase its podcast ad inventory.
  • Box office boom. Marvel and Sony’s Spider-Man: No Way Home” hit an opening weekend tally of $260M - the second-highest domestic opening of all time. In fact, the movie has already grossed more than the total domestic sales of any COVID-era released film.

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