Starbucks Is No Longer Teens’ Favorite Chain, & Its Replacement Is Surprising

Parents, listen up: Starbucks is no longer teens’ favorite place to hang out — and the restaurant chain that replaced it is beyond surprising. 

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According to the fall 2018 Piper Jaffray Taking Stock With Teens survey, Chick-fil-A is now the top restaurant for both upper-income and average-income teens. Sixteen percent of upper-income teens prefer it over Starbucks (12 percent), and 12 percent of average-income teens prefer it over the 10 percent of teens who chose Starbucks as their go-to restaurant.

The other restaurants in the top five for upper-income teens are Chipotle (8 percent), McDonald's (4 percent) and Dunkin' (3 percent). For average-income, No. 3 is McDonald's (7 percent) and tied for No. 4 are Chipotle, Taco Bell and Olive Garden (all 4 percent). 

Olive Garden may seem surprising, but considering it’s the one national restaurant chain that millennials aren’t killing off, looks like Generation Z won't either.

This is Chick-fil-A’s first time topping the list in this particular survey. According to Restaurant Business, Chick-fil-A wasn’t in the top five in 2010 for either set of teens, but has steadily moved up since.

“They’re just pushing everybody out,” Piper analyst Nicole Miller Regan told Restaurant Business.

Piper’s semiannual survey interviewed 8,600 teens. The teens surveyed were an average age of 16, and 36 percent were employed part-time. As far as income goes, three-quarters of the teens had an average household income of $56,000, and 2,400 teens had an average household income of $102,000.

Other top brands include Nike, Amazon, Sephora, Tarte and — wait for it — Michael Kors. Some other surprising brands that made their way into the top five in their respective categories are American Eagle and PacSun. 

More: Listen Up, Chipotle Lovers — Here's How to Win Free Burritos for a Full Year

While teens are spending money on clothing, “they’re spending more on food,” Miller Regan said, adding that teens prefer “experiences over things.” For comparison, teens spend approximately 24 percent of their income on food and 21 percent on clothing.

The survey is honestly very interesting, covering everything from teens' preferred social media platforms (Snapchat is No. 1) and preferred streaming service (Netflix edged out YouTube, 38 percent vs. 33 percent) to smartphone habits (iPhone FTW). You can read the full survey here.

And as for all you parents out there, next time you can’t find your teen, now you know what your first stop should be.

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