The TikTok Revolution: McDonald’s and Other Chains Offering Social Media-Made Menu Hacks

If you’ve been to a McDonald’s restaurant lately, you may have received an Order + Make Your Menu Hack flyer. Scan the QR code, and you’ll find out how to make McDonald’s favorite menu hacks that have surged in popularity on the social media platform TikTok.

Care to try a Crunchy Double? Simply combine their double cheeseburger with Chicken McNuggets and some barbeque sauce. Or, if you haven’t eaten for a week, try a Land, Air & Sea—a catchy title that combines a Big Mac with a McChicken and a Filet-0-Fish. Their take-off on popular Surf & Turf specials puts together their double cheeseburger and Filet-0-Fish. And, last but not least and probably the most popular is a Hash Brown McMuffin. One of their simpler hacks requires you to place their hash browns on a Sausage McMuffin with Egg.

If you want the Surf & Turf, you’ll have to order on the app or via McDelivery—their partnership with Door Dash and Uber Eats that provides McDonald’s food delivered to your door.

While fans have been sharing their menu hacks on TikTok for some time, McDonald’s has decided to make their creations a little easier by putting these four on the menu. This limited-time offer started on January 31.

The World’s Fast-Food Leader

It’s marketing strategies like this that have earned McDonald’s one of the top spots in the fast-food industry. It currently has about 37,900 locations worldwide and has been in operation since 1940. In sheer numbers, it’s surpassed by only one other chain, with Subway boasting 41,500 units. But, in terms of value, it lays claim to the top spot, generating $19.2 billion in revenue in 2020.

McDonald’s spends about $2 billion in advertising annually. However, many of their marketing strategies take advantage of social media, limiting costs and the need for expanded operations.

Take, for example, their menu hacks. There’s no change in the menu items or protocol. All the menu items already exist, and customers must assemble the menu hacks, which means no employee training or time-consuming preparation. What they do get is a lot of media coverage.

The Rise of TikTok and Restaurant Marketing

Several other brands have changed their menu to reflect social media trends. For example, the Cheesecake Factory’s Louisiana Chicken Caesar Salad exists because of a TikTok video gone viral. In addition to fans creating viral content, restaurants are stepping up their social media marketing game, tapping into one of the fastest-growing social media platforms—TikTok. This short-form video-sharing app claimed the top spot in January 2020 as the world’s most downloaded social media app.

Companies utilize contests, challenges, and hashtags to generate excitement about their brand. Restaurants partner with micro-influencers, share secret recipes, and take potential customers on behind-the-scenes tours. Because of TikTok’s algorithms that show videos based on a user’s location, your videos will likely find a local presence. Like any social media campaign, you’ll want to stay true to your brand’s voice and image.

TikTok’s maximum video length is now three minutes, up from 15 seconds when it first debuted. TikTok for Business is a paid ad platform that lets businesses create video ads between 5-60 seconds long. Users choose their goal, select their audience, set their budget, and design their ad.

One of the brands making headlines in TikTok is Chipotle Mexican Grill. Their #GuacDance challenge set records, receiving 250,000 video submissions and 430 million video starts in six days. Ultimately, the video generated 1.1 billion views. According to Marketing Dive, Chipotle guests ordered more than 800,000 sides of guacamole on National Avocado Day, increasing the chain’s avocado usage by 68%.

While few of us may join the likes of McDonald’s and Chipotle, many can aspire to create a greater presence on social media platforms that provide the opportunity to reach an ever-expanding segment of the population. So, if you’re ready to host branded hashtag challenges, collaborate with influencers, or simply offer relevant and exciting content, it may be time to join the TikTok revolution.

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