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Cloud Bread to Burn-away Cakes: Tomorrow’s TikTok Trends in Restaurant & Retail

burn-away cake

Food brands and restaurant/retail companies have long listened to consumers regarding what’s hot, what’s not, and what’s coming (and what’s so last year!), but few tools have amplified consumers’ voices like TikTok. 

A guy named Keith Lee (@keith_lee125, for curious Tokkers) was thrust into the limelight last year as his Chipotle hack, the Keithadilla, first went viral and then went corporate when Chipotle not only embraced it, but made it a part of its menu.

From fashion to food to home how-to, no one knows what tomorrow’s fan-based must-have will be or can predict which form it will take; when McDonald’s released its Happy Birthday Grimace Happy Meal last summer, TikTok was overrun with sometimes hilarious (and often gruesome) videos of purple-smeared tweens meeting their untimely ends at the hands of The Purple One, boosting sales and prompting McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski, during its July earnings call, to say, “This quarter, if I’m being honest, the theme was Grimace.”

But no one wants to be secondhand news, as Lindsay Buckingham once sang – it’s tomorrow that’s hot. Here are a few rumors about what to expect via TikTok at a restaurant, grocer, or retailer near you.

News Review

You Can Go Your Own Way

From chefs to retailers to restaurant operators, catching fire with a dish that went viral on TikTok can ignite a fan base (and bolster quarterly revenue).

“We’ve seen a big uptick in chefs and operators leveraging TikTok. It’s a perfect creative outlet to showcase culinary skills and personalities,” said Sharon Ponti, social media manager at FoodMix, to FI.

“And thanks to the algorithm, TikTok has been helping talented chefs gain significant visibility and recognition in the culinary world. A recent example here at FoodMix is the viral onion tart that took over in 2023,” noting that pre-peeled onions made for many a scrumptious meal.

TikTok trends

“Tapping into peer-to-peer influence within the foodservice space is key to increasing our clients’ social following and overall engagement. Beyond chef creators, there are ample opportunities to create connections and spread awareness for away-from-home food and beverage brands on TikTok, especially when it comes to getting brands in front of the young, up-and-coming decision makers entering the foodservice realm.”

Pickles remain a hot condiment and the Chamoy pickle is one the rise on TikTok. Chamoy pickles are generally giant pickles stuffed with anything from sweet peppers to spicy jalapenos and often drizzled in hot sauce and/or chili powder.

Chamoy is a popular Mexican condiment made from dried fruit and chilis,” said Petra Khan, senior strategist at ICUC, a global social media and online community management agency, to FI. “TikTokers are putting Chamoy over anything you can think of, from peach rings and other candy, fruits & veggies, chips, and even on their drinks!”

Khan said that the versatility of Chamoy means many brands, at-home food DIYers, and more can really put their own spin on the unique food and tap into the trend.

“Make it relevant to your brand and your audience, and you’re steps away from creating a viral combination,” she added.

In other words, instead of merely dreaming about going viral, see what’s out there, throw on an apron, and head to the kitchen.

Don’t Stop (Remixing Viral Recipes)

Camila Santos is co-founder and creative director at Host Hospitality, and she noted several trends to watch for in the year ahead:

  • Burn-away Cake – This captivating trend, noted by one of our clients who is already considering its implementation, offers a novel way to entice diners with hidden surprises and messages, sparking curiosity and enhancing the dining experience. Why implement? To create an interactive and memorable dining experience that engages customers and generates buzz.

The burn-away cake was already heating up on TikTok, so to speak, then went supernova when Elmo asked everyone how they were doing on Twitter and the people responded – NOT VERY WELL, ELMO.


Other trends to note include:

  • Cloud Bread – With its ethereal appearance and simple yet visually stunning preparation, cloud bread presents an opportunity to offer a unique and Instagram-worthy menu item that appeals to the growing demand for visually appealing dishes. Why implement? To attract social media-savvy customers and capitalize on the trend’s virality for increased brand visibility.
  • Broths – As consumers increasingly prioritize health and wellness, the resurgence of broths provides an opportunity to offer comforting, nutrient-rich menu options that cater to this growing demand for wholesome and nourishing fare. Why implement? To tap into the health-conscious market segment and offer a diverse range of flavorful and nutritious options.
  • Mirror Glaze Cakes – Mirror glaze cakes provide a visually stunning dessert option that combines artistic flair with indulgent flavors, offering a decadent treat that appeals to customers seeking unique and luxurious dining experiences. Why implement? To differentiate your dessert offerings and captivate customers with visually stunning creations that leave a lasting impression.
  • Fruit-infused Ice Cubes for Cocktails – By infusing ice cubes with fresh fruits and herbs, restaurants can elevate their cocktail presentations, adding a refreshing burst of flavor and visual appeal that enhances the overall drinking experience. Why implement? To offer innovative and refreshing cocktail options that appeal to customers’ senses and encourage repeat visits.
  • Creme Brulee Bagel – Combining the classic flavors of creme brulee with the beloved texture of a bagel, this innovative culinary creation offers a unique twist on a breakfast staple, catering to customers’ desire for novel and indulgent menu items. Why implement? To offer a creative and indulgent breakfast option that stands out from traditional offerings and generates excitement among customers.
  • Chopped Bagel – By deconstructing the classic bagel sandwich and serving it in a chopped format, restaurants can offer a customizable and convenient dining option that caters to customers’ preferences for personalized and on-the-go meals. Why implement? To provide customers with a versatile and customizable menu option that caters to their individual tastes and dietary preferences.”

New Yorkers may tremble at that last one, but 1.5 million viewers can’t be wrong.

Can they?