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In an Eye-Opening Result, Teens Declared They Have a New Favorite Fast-Food Chain (No, Not McDonald’s)

We’re talking about teens with a little money, that is.

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BY Chris Matyszczyk - 12 Apr 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.


Here's your test question for today.

How much of their money do teens spend on food?

10 percent? 15?

Actually, according to the bi-annual Taking Stock With Teens survey performed by investment bank Piper Jaffray, the answer is 24 percent for males and 25 percent for females.

Yes, it seems that teens don't get fed at home as much as they used to.

So where do they spend it? Have these teens developed sophisticated tastes, thanks to the explosion of cooking shows on TV?

You must decide, as we delve into their restaurant favorites.

The survey helpfully splits the results between teens who have some money and teens who have less money.

Those in the average-income bracket favor Starbucks as their preferred restaurant.

Which might seem odd, given that no one could surely call Starbucks cheap. My grande almond-milk latte costs almost $5.

What, though, might be the second-favorite for these average-income teens?

McDonald's, surely, I hear you snort. Or, if not, then Taco Bell.

Yet the answer is Chick-fil-A. The southern chicken chain that doesn't open on Sundays, because it prefers to worship its God rather than its Mammon, seems to be fast food rising.

Behind it come McDonald's, Taco Bell and, oh, Buffalo Wild Wings.

Perhaps the last one is for special nights out.

What about those upper-income teens? Surely they're more health-conscious, as their helicopter parents monitor their teens' every last calorie and skin regime.

Surely they go to, I don't know, Panera.

Oh, some do.

But the wealthier among the more than 60,000 teens in this survey opted for Chick-fil-A as their favorite.

Following the chicken chain were Starbucks, Chipotle (yes, you can't scare kids with E-coli threats), McDonald's and, fifth, Panera.

I wouldn't want to draw overly fanciful conclusions from this survey, though I had heard that teens these days are a little more sensible than their predecessors.

Perhaps what they're partial to is not only Chick-fil-A's food -- which many adore -- but to its apparently stellar customer service.

Perhaps sometimes surly teens enjoy not being served by other surly teens.

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