John Allmond, the owner of the Travelers Rest burger joint Northwest Grill, was confused when he received a text from a friend a few weeks ago informing him that he was on TikTok.
“They sent me a text and ended up calling me, told me I’ve got like tens of thousands of views on TikTok,” Allmond said. “I said, ‘TikTok? What’re you talking about?’”
For older audiences, the popular social media app TikTok might be unfamiliar. Some may have only heard about it recently due to its reoccurrence in the headlines after President Trump announced his opposition to the Chinese-owned platform, citing national security concerns.
But for its 850 million users, the majority of whom skew Gen Z, the app is simply a lighthearted platform to easily edit and share short clips, usually of viral dance moves or pop music lip syncs.
So it was strange for Allmond, a middle-aged chef, to learn he himself was on the platform.
What he didn’t know was that his daughter Kiaura had begun using her own TikTok account to celebrate his accomplishments and promote his restaurant.
“Stop scrolling if you’re from South Carolina!” she writes in one TikTok, before the video cuts to photos of her father smiling and posing in the kitchen, holding up a plates of his food as upbeat music plays in the background. “Come to my dad’s restaurant. He makes the best burgers and fries. And more!!!”
What Allmond also didn’t know was that his friend had been wrong about the number of views he’d received.
@kiwitiwi2.0#greenscreen northwest grill 😎😎#fyp #CancelTheNoise #UpTheBeat #HolidayCrafts #foryoupage♬ original sound – NYC.Axel
As it turned out, that first clip alone has now racked up nearly 1 million views.
“Really?” Allmond said when he heard the figure. “That’s pretty good, huh?”
Kiaura has since posted more clips telling stories about her father’s restaurant, including the time he went out of his way to make a child happy by getting the boy his favorite food (ravioli) even though it wasn’t on the menu, as well as touting her father’s “Ph.D. in burgerology.”
She’s now received tens of thousands of comments from fans all over the country who promise to stop by and support the restaurant, even those who say they don’t mind driving hours to get there.
“I don’t know why she decided to do that, but she’s a great kid,” Allmond said. “I’m real proud of her.”
For Allmond, celebrating each other runs in the family, as he’s just as quick to promote his daughter’s achievements.
“She’s the first one of my daughters to go to college,” Allmond said. “She’s at Clemson studying criminal justice — such a hard worker. I just can’t be more proud of her.”
Still, despite his brush with social media fame, Allmond won’t be downloading TikTok anytime soon, because he said he doesn’t need a social media account to convince him to dance.
“I do that all the time on my own,” he said, laughing. “We have a lot of fun here.”
Northwest Grill is at 13045 Old White Horse Road, Travelers Rest.
Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday.