Teens pick their favorite restaurant chains

By 
Peter Romeo, Director of Digital Content

Starbucks teen

In the bid for teens’ dining dollars, Chick-fil-A may be a noncommercial operator’s biggest offsite threat. The quick-service chicken concept has nudged Starbucks out of the top slot in an updated ranking of restaurant chains by their followings among affluent teenagers.

The semiannual report from Piper Jaffray shows Starbucks maintaining its long reign as the hearththrob of teens from average-income households, a streak that began in 2011 when the coffee king pushed McDonald’s out of first place.

The study, “Taking Stock With Teens,” which Piper Jaffray updates twice a year, found that spending among all teens has increased by 6% since fall of 2017, raising the projected total for 2018 to $2,600 each.

Restaurants remain the youngsters’ favorite place to use that money, with chains increasing their portion of the total outlay to an all-time high of 24% in 2018.

How chains stack up for affluent teens

 

Limited-service brands dominate teens’ preferences, continuing the trend Piper Jaffray first noted in spring 2009. “We believe this is fueled by fast-casual preference coupled with affordability considerations,” notes the company, a financial services concern.

The lone full-service brand finishing among the top five for teens from average-income households was Buffalo Wild Wings, at No. 5, a position it has held for more than a year.

The favorites among average-income teens

 

Not a single casual or polished-casual chain finished among the top five slots on the rankings for teens from affluent households, which Piper Jaffray defines as homes with at least $100,000 in annual income, or 20% of households.

Rounding out the top five lists for teens from average-income homes were McDonald’s at No. 3 and Taco Bell at No. 4.

Places three through five on the ranking by affluent teens were Chipotle, McDonald’s and Panera Bread.

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