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With over 700 million views on its TikToks, Instagram Reels and Youtube Shorts, Tahini's Mediterranean Cuisine is using sketch comedy as a major tool to expand the family business.
It's no secret that comics, influencers and brands use sketch comedy on social media, raising the stakes for individuals and organizations to use humour to enhance sales, branding, productivity and over all business, across industries. These short, funny vignettes capture the viewer's attention and create binge-worthy content that we scroll through for hours (guilty!).
Here in Toronto, many restaurants employ short videos on social media to promote new openings and dishes, but Tahini's unique and dedicated approach to creating sketches has amassed the brand a whopping 546.7K followers and more than 15 million likes on TikTok alone, as of writing this at the end of January, 2023.
"Growing our pages by entertainment has helped our business immensely," says Ali Tahinis, Chief Marketing Officer of the family-run restaurant franchise.
"The way we think about it is, if we as a business make you laugh or smile, it's way more effective than trying to shove a product down your throat by traditional advertising methods."
Tahinis, his brother Omar Hamam and their cousin Ahmed Dessouki entered the restaurant industry in 2012, when they purchased an existing restaurant in downtown London, Ontario. The trio rebranded within a few years to the current Tahini's franchise, with Hamam as the CEO and Dessouki as the COO.
With three quality videos on the Tahini's website detailing its origins, competitive edge and secret sauce, it seems that the restaurant was already familiar with creating good video content to inspire an audience and customer base.
Tahinis notes that he started using sketch comedy for the business in 2019 as a creative way to spread the word about Tahini's restaurants.
"I started by making TikToks for people to enjoy, laugh and salivate all at once," explains Tahinis.
"We weren’t getting a lot of views in the beginning. But with persistence and creativity, our videos started gaining traction. I started making the videos all by myself. As we grew, I brought in other amazing creators to create content with us, like Maya Hussein. Now, we work with many creators."
Hussein boasts one million followers on TikTok and 266K on Instagram, creating comedy from her experiences as an Arab woman. Other notable Tahini's collaborators include Toronto comic Abbas Wahab, content creator Lahib MK, and even students from local schools who frequent the franchise in their area, such as Saunders Secondary School in London, Ontario.
"If anyone wants to create content with us, feel free to reach out to us," Tahinis encourages.
Currently, Tahinis stars in many of the videos himself. The sketches feature Tahinis as a staff member, interacting with guest characters. Topics range from spice tolerances, to simply raving about how good Tahini's shawarmas are, and beyond.
Tahinis says that he is focused on growing the Tahini's YouTube Channel, which already has 602K subscribers. He notes that this is more than those of Wendy’s, Burger King, Chipotle, Popeyes and Tim Hortons combined, a number that sits at just under 400K followers.
"What inspires my content creation is just trying to create something that would entertain our audience and make them smile, while trying to make the overall content better as we go," says Tahinis.
Tahini's has 21 locations in Ontario, and plans to open 25 more across Canada in 2023. The team also owns Dough Bits, a dessert cafe with three locations that makes Middle Eastern-style, fusion zalabiyeh. The fried doughnut holes are doused in toppings like maple syrup and strawberry sauce.
"We as a company are guest obsessed, every decision we make at Tahini's is one that we think will provide the best value for our guests," concludes Tahinis.
"We never focus on our competitors. Sometimes we will make mistakes. But we learn quick from our mistakes. We invite you all to come to Tahini's to try out the food and be our guests."