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Consumer Trends

Chick-fil-A remains the No. 1 restaurant for teens

The chicken chain is joined by Starbucks and Chipotle on the latest "Taking Stock with Teens" spending survey from Piper Sandler.
Chick Fil A teens
Photo courtesy of Chick fil A

Chick-fil-A remains the most popular restaurant choice for teens, according to the latest “Taking Stock with Teens” spending survey from financial services company Piper Sandler.

The firm releases the survey twice a year, and Chick-fil-A has now topped the restaurant-spending list seven times in a row.

Starbucks and Chipotle held on to their No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively, followed by Dunkin at No 4., and In-N-Out and McDonald’s tied for the fifth spot, according to the survey, which was released Wednesday.

Teen spending took a pandemic-prompted dip, falling to the lowest in the survey’s 20-year history, but it has rebounded about 1% to $2,165 annually per person, the survey found. Food remains teens’ top priority, making up 23% of their overall spending.

The latest survey examined spending trends and brand preferences of 7,000 teens in 47 states, with an average age of 16.1 years. The consumer group contributes about $830 billion to U.S retail sales annually, Piper Sandler said. The survey found that 33% of teens hold a part-time job, down from 37% pre-pandemic.

For their favorite restaurants, 18% of teens preferred Chick-fil-A, 12% said Starbucks was tops, 11% liked Chipotle, 4% voted for Dunkin’, and In-N-Out and McDonald’s tied at 3%. Chipotle’s percentage climbed 300 basis points from last year while McDonald’s fell 200 basis points.

The group is socially conscious, citing racial equality and the environment as their top issues. Some 15% of those surveyed said they consume plant-based meat, with Impossible and Beyond Meat tied as the top choices.

Just over 40% of teens remain in online school full-time, the survey found. And 69% of teens said they plan to receive a COVID vaccine when it’s their turn, up from 64% in the fall.


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