Social media famed self-proclaimed food critic Keith Lee has singlehandedly changed the life of one small business owner with his latest review. Read more on the story and check out his viral videos inside.
Lee has amassed over 8.1 million followers on TikTok, posting his entertaining food reviews. On Jan. 3, the Las Vegas based social media star reviewed a struggling family restaurant, saying their food was “delicious.”
The less than enthusiastic food reviewer has a specific style when posting his reviews online that keeps his followers wishing for more. His videos are authentic and zoom in and out on his facial expressions, attracting a large pool of hungry social media users. Lee often makes content taste-tasting food from small businesses, and he most recently posted a review of a local independent restaurant called Frankenson’s Pizzeria on Jan. 3.
Lee’s review claims that the struggling family business made one of the best chicken wings he’s ever had, which subsequently created a huge influx of customers for the store.
The owner told KTNV that Lee’s viral review led to a life-changing surge in customers.
Lee started his video by saying that an employee from the family-owned eatery had reached out to him, asking if he could try the food and post it on TikTok because business has been “slow” and they “can’t afford rent.”
He then went to the store to buy some food, and had a conversation with the owner, telling him he was a food reviewer who was going to make a “completely honest” video about the store. Lee proceeded to try different dishes from the pizzeria in his video, rating most items at least an eight out of 10.
Upon trying the fifth dish, which was an order of lemon pepper chicken wings, Lee bit into the wing and said, “This is one of the best wings I’ve ever had. This a 10.”
“There is no way you should be behind on rent, or struggling to pay rent,” Lee said in the video, adding, “That food is delicious.”
Lee’s TikTok went viral on the platform, receiving 31 million views. Many TikTokers expressed support for the business in the comments.
“Not me wanting to go to Vegas just to try all of Keith’s recommendations,” said one comment.
Lee posted a follow-up video on Jan. 4, saying that Frankeson’s TikTok page gained tens of thousands of followers in the 24 hours after his review was posted, and that the store was “slammed” with customers.
The Owner of Frankenson’s, Frank Steele, said Lee’s review created a huge increase in orders and in-person customers at his store.
“Our phone never stopped ringing. I’ve sold more lemon pepper wings in the last two days than I have in the past four months,” he told KNTV, adding, “I have people coming in from Iowa, people from California, Lake Havasu. I had people come down from Utah, all because of this video.”
Steele told the outlet said that he opened the restaurant four months ago, but that business was a “struggle,” and he was only making around $400 a day before Lee posted his review of the store.
“The response has been so overwhelming. I’m working to get stocked up on supplies and food. I am bringing everyone in to help. All I can say is thank you. This has been life-changing,” he added.
On Jan. 8, Lee reacted to a clip of Steele’s interview with KTNV in a TikTok video, saying, “That wasn’t about me. That wasn’t my moment,” adding, “Watching him be that thankful and cry on national news was more than enough for me.”
Lee posted a video of himself visiting Frankenson’s on January 9, filming large queues inside the store, and saying hi to Steele, who Lee wrote in the caption has been working 16-hour shifts in order to meet the level of demand.
His TikTok account has amassed even more followers since the viral review. He gained 800k followers in a single day on Jan. 7, according to analytics tracker SocialBlade.
The power of social media is unreal and Keith Lee is so grateful to help local businesses while growing an organic following.