According to journalist Joseph Lamourad and Today.com, “a Las Vegas pizzeria has been blessed with a boon of business thanks to a rising TikToker.”
As Lamourad went on to report, on January 3, “TikTok food critic Keith Lee shared a video to his millions of followers that would change the fate of Frankensons, a Las Vegas restaurant that serves pizza, chicken wings and more. In the video , he tells a story about how he came in one day and had a heartwarming experience with the owner, Frank Steele.”
As Lee explained in the video, he recently “received an email from an employee of a family-owned restaurant here in Vegas.”
According to Lamourad, Lee said that “an employee asked him to come try the place because even though they think the food is delicious, Frankenson’s business was taking off.
“The employee tells Lee about how slow things were at the store and that the business couldn’t afford to pay rent as a result. They cite a lack of marketing as the culprit for their slow business, and while they would love a food reviewer to get to review the food, the only offer they received from another influencer would have cost them $2,600.
“I didn’t charge anything and I bought my own food,” Lee says pointedly. “This taste test really needs to see: Is it really the marketing or is the food bad?”
“Frank was such a fool. He took his time, he was patient,” Lee said of the owner of Frankensons, with whom he had a long talk about the business. Lee maintained that Steele’s kindness added another level to the already impeccable service at Frankenson’s.
Steele had no idea of Lee’s legion of TikTok followers or his considerable power in the food space. A great TikTok review of a Chipotle hack by Lee recently went viral enough that it ended up being added to the national chain’s menu.
“This is one of the best wings I’ve ever had, it’s a 10,” Lee said after biting into a lemon pepper chicken wing.
Other items he gives high marks to are the garlic knots, a classic Italian sub, thin crust and classic pepperoni pizzas, and the peach chutney wings. Lee is fair in his review, but he says he’s not a big fan of the fries or the ranch dressing.
ee’s heartfelt and honest food review video has garnered an astonishing 31.8 million views in one week, and according to Frankenson’s owner, it was an unexpected boon for his business.
“I had this guy come in and didn’t know who he was and I started talking to him because I like to talk to all my customers,” Steele told local news station KTNV. “I asked him where he was from and what he did for work, and that’s when he said he was a food critic.”
Steele said business wasn’t that great for his four-month-old restaurant and that he was “lucky if I made $400 a day.” According to Steele, however, it only took a few hours after Lee’s visit for the tide to change.
“Our phone never stopped ringing. I’ve sold more lemon pepper wings in the last two days than I have in the last four months. I made more garlic knots yesterday and the day before yesterday than I’ve ever made,” Steele said and was suffocated.
“It’s just been overwhelming. It’s been a blessing. This restaurant has been my dream for 30 years.”
Steele said Lee’s TikTok review brought Frankensons customers from Iowa, California, Utah and more. A look at a post on Frankensons’ Facebook page shows people from all over the country — from Louisiana to Tennessee and more — clamoring to visit the store the next time they’re in town. Some commenters say they take a trip specifically to visit.
But growing pains are inevitable. A TikTok posted by the Frankensons on Jan. 4 apologized for wait times due to the sudden influx of business.
“We apologize for the inconvenience to anyone who came in today and had to wait a long time,” the Frankensons wrote in a note about the video. “Please remember that we went from a small flow of customers to an overwhelming number of customers OVERNIGHT after an amazing TikTok review from Keith Lee.”
“In a series of follow-up videos,” Lamourad reported, “Lee shares that he has visited Steele a few times since their shared virality, including customers who wrote about visiting Frankenson’s after seeing his TikTok. Lee also shared KNTV’s video in a heartfelt update , and on Day 4 shared that the lines for the company are still down the block.”
“Open! Bro, what,” Lee told Steele in his latest TikTok update. As Lee looks at the line outside the store that his video caused, people in line cheer. “This is crazy.”
“The response has been so overwhelming,” Steele told KNTV. “I’m working on stocking up on supplies and food. I’m bringing everyone in to help. I can only say thank you. This has been life changing.”