Food reviewer helps struggling restaurants


By Maria Mercurio, Staff Writer

Keith Lee, an influencer from Las Vegas uses his following to bring business back to struggling restaurants. He started off as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter and is now going viral for his food reviews on TikTok. Lee has gained around nine million followers in the past three months and only plans on continuing his journey as a food reviewer.

He is known to have the ability to boost small businesses. Lee made it very clear that he is not doing this for money. He wants to be one hundred percent honest, authentic, and transparent for his followers. He has also tried his best to lay low, so he does not receive special treatment from any establishment.

A four-minute video took Frankensons pizzeria in Las Vegas from struggling to pay rent to hardly keeping up with orders. The owner of Frankensons pizzeria, Frank Steele, talked to NBC news about the drastic change in business after Lee posted a review, “he has hired 23 new team members and had guests from all over the world patiently wait for over three hours for his pizzas.” Steele claims his staff was not prepared for the sudden increase in business and that it was very overwhelming at first. In order to keep up with their new fanbase, Steele needed to hire more employees.  Everyone associated with Frankensons is extremely grateful to Lee and his followers for helping the business.

The Today Show also discussed Lee’s immense impact on a certain food truck called Shanks. Before Lee gave the food truck a visit, the owner “says he was making $50 to $200 dollars depending on the day, but he’s seen about a 900% increase in revenue since then.”  Lee had given his fans the whole story about his experience at Shanks, the food, and the customer service. Lee’s fans loved the story so much that they decided to send money to the owner and help him out. The Today Show reported that, “so many people were sending Shanks money that within 24 hours he had received $30,000 without even selling a thing.” Lee is changing lives one review at a time. However, it takes a team, none of this would be possible if it weren’t for Lee’s followers.

Maria Kim,  the owner of Bistro Wasabi, a family owned restaurant in Lake In the Hills, was amazed to hear about all of Lee’s work and stated: “I love hearing about family owned restaurants thriving because it is not a walk in the park…Chain restaurants have it easier because everybody knows what a Buffalo Wild Wings is or what Chili’s is… but not everybody knows about all of the little family owned restaurants in their own town. Chains have more of a cushion when it comes to business because people feel safe going there. They know what they are getting, but for family-owned restaurants people have to try them, love them, and pass the word on.

“It can definitely get scary at times when we are not as busy as I would like to be,” she said. “My life, family, and source of income all revolve around this restaurant. I cannot imagine what would happen, god forbid, if we were to go out of business.”

This adds another level of appreciation for people running their own business.

Technology has opened up hundreds of doors for people in our world today and it is also something that we all have access to. This is just one of the ways it can be used for good. We have many opportunities to do good, like Keith Lee, with technology at our fingertips. On a smaller scale, taking the extra step or going out of your way for other people is so important. People can try family-owned establishments and support local businesses.