Starbucks has officially been dethroned as the number one go-to for teens across America. Instead, teenagers are flocking to Chick-fil-A to get their fast food fill. This is the first time — ever — that a single restaurant has been ranked number one by both upper- and average-income teens alike.
This finding is according to a Taking Stock With Teens survey by Piper Jaffray via Restaurant Business. Starbucks had reigned supreme with teens since 2011 after booting McDonald’s from the top spot. However, Chick-fil-A is currently the fastest-growing fast food chain in the U.S. Just last year, the chain’s sales growth spiked 14.2%.
In 2010, Chick-fil-A didn’t even place among the top 5 favorite chains among upper- and average-income teens. Yet in less than a decade, it has come out on top.
Although Starbucks has been ousted, it still remains the most popular publicly traded company among teens. “Either [teens] gravitate a little away from caffeine or dairy in the drink, or there’s a lot of competition when it comes to tea-based drinks,” Piper analyst Nicole Miller Regan told Restaurant Business regarding Starbucks’s dip in popularity.
The survey interviewed 8,600 teens at an average age of 16. Three-quarters of the interviewed teens live in a household with an average income, whereas 2,400 were classified as upper class.
Food remains the top spending priority for teens in comparison to clothing. In 2014, food surpassed clothing and now represents an average 24% of a teen’s spending. Miller Regan noted that teens are more inclined to want experiences rather than material items.
Chick-fil-A and Starbucks aside, teens also often opt for McDonald’s, Chipotle, and Taco Bell, showing that they overall prefer limited-service fast food restaurants.
The teens have spoken. Now get them to the nearest Chick-fil-A.