January 27, 2023

TikTok Food Critic Helps Black-Owned Food Truck Raise $30K

If you’ve been on TikTok lately, chances are you’ve come across food critic, Keith Lee

The MMA fighter-turned-food critic has dedicated his online platform to helping underrepresented Black-owned restaurants get the spotlight they deserve. 

In a recent video, popular TikToker Keith Lee revealed that he had helped a struggling Black business raise $30,000 in under 24 hours.

Through his honest but rewarding TikTok reviews, struggling businesses have seen an enormous influx of customers, with many going from no customers to completely selling out. 

After making his way home, Lee spotted a small Southern Taste Seafood food truck in Las Vegas and decided to post an online review about his experience. 


He isn’t on yelp so I tagged him on my IG 💕 Southern Taste Seafood taste test 💕 would you try it ? 💕 #foodcritic

♬ original sound – Keith Lee

“The foodie in me got interested immediately,” Lee said in a TikTok post. “So, I said, let me go and see what they are talking about. I thank God that I did.”

“He told me he’s just trying to survive right now, and [things] are very slow. He [said] he’s lucky if he could get five or ten,” he explained in the video. 

In under 24 hours, Keith Lee’s video garnered an impressive 17 million views. The owner of the food truck’s social media platform went from 200 followers to just over 9,000.  

“It’s been 19 hours, and the original video is almost at 17 million views. Inside those 19 hours, he accumulated $30,000 in cash app donations, that’s not including a single sale,” Lee said in an updated video. 

Lee’s platform is a testament to the power social media can have in helping Black businesses remain seen and paid. It has opened the gates for each company to drive revenue and exposed them to a new audience and online community.

Since the video came out, owner and chef Gary Shanks said his life has changed for the better. He has managed to pay off his credit card bills and eliminate other debts through donations. 

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Kumba Kpakima

Kumba Kpakima is a reporter at POCIT. A documentary about the knife crime epidemic in the UK got her a nomination for the UK's #30toWatch Young Journalists of the Year.