Piper Sandler Survey of teens shows Chick-fil-A is their favorite


The annual Piper Sandler Taking Stock with Teens survey was released on Thursday and was packed with information about the end of Gen Z that brands will want to know.

First, which restaurant brands reign supreme among young people? Well, Chick-fil-A took the top spot in another age group.

Popular among millennials and Gen Xers, Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A – which has been ranked number one in the US Restaurant Consumer Satisfaction Index Study annual report for the eighth consecutive year – recently tested various drive-thru and delivery strategies.

This includes a mobile-only lane at over 60 locations. Early tests showed increased service speed and self-driving vehicles in multiple cities for delivery options. The Chick-fil-A drive-thru, known for its speed of service, has been hampered in recent years by volume. A California town that almost had the local Chick-fil-A declared a public nuisance earlier this year due to the busy thoroughfare.

Other chains that ranked in the top five favorite teen brands were Starbucks, Chipotle Mexican Grill, McDonald’s and Olive Garden. The Darden Brands restaurant, which recently brought back its endless pasta offering, was the only full-service chain to make the list.

For high-income men with an average age of 15.8, the top spending area was food, with a 23% market share. For young women, it was the clothes.

Despite spectacular market debuts and quiet returns to the drawing board after early trials, plant-based meats could be on the way out, at least according to teens. Of the 14% of teens who eat plant-based meat, 22% plan to eat less than last year, compared to 17% the year before. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more customers interested in novelty or planet-saving measures.

Elsewhere, TikTok increased its market share dominance with 38% teen preference. This compares to Snapchat, which got 30% of teen votes for their favorite social media platform, and Instagram, which had just 20% market share.

This is an interesting measure for this generation with growing purchasing power. These consumers use TikTok far more than any other app, which means ad campaigns should focus on TikTok rather than Instagram or TV, which many young consumers probably aren’t even watching.

Taco Bell, which just released its Mexican Pizza: The Musical on TikTok, is a great example of a brand using the power of Gen Z to market itself. The video that debuts Mexican pizza currently has over 57 million views. And this video showing the Taco Bell test kitchen testing new menu hacks has over 260 million views.

The fast service brand has just teamed up with another famous TikTok brand, Truffle, for a collaborative Nacho Fries with truffle sauce this week.

The future of virtual reality among teenagers remains uncertain. Use of VR devices increased from 17% in the spring to 14% in the fall, with 25% of teens owning a VR device (this number remained stable).

Starbucks, the second-favorite restaurant chain for teens, recently entered the metaverse, but with one twist: there’s no need for VR goggles. By opening the Metaverse to everyone, all future customers will need the app to download and use the Starbucks Metaverse. Only time will tell if this strategy — when it comes out — will work with teens who have access to actual VR goggles.


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