Millennials are so passé — instead, let us take a moment to feverishly obsess over another demographic: the mysterious band of surprisingly well-behaved Snapchatting youngsters known as teens. What's the 13-to-19 set into these days, other than following Selena Gomez on Instagram? According to the latest semiannual survey by Piper Jaffray, the answer is: blowing their allowance on $5 coffee drinks.
Teens continue to drop more cash on food than clothes and their favorite place to do so — regardless of income level — is Starbucks, with 14 percent of the 6,500 teens surveyed naming the coffee giant as their preferred restaurant. Meanwhile, despite a continued preference for fast-casual restaurants over their full-service counterparts, it seems teens are losing interest in Chipotle: While the burrito chain remains the number-two restaurant choice for upper-income teens (it tied for fifth among those with an average income), analysts say the previously E. coli-stricken chain is seeing a decrease in popularity; as Business Insider notes, "The largest negative impact was seen among upper-income females and teens in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region." (In more anecdotal evidence: Kendall Jenner has not been seen at a Chipotle since prior to the Great Food Safety Disaster of 2015.)
Meanwhile, McDonald's remains popular across all income groups, and teens are also on board with Chick-fil-A and Panera. Will Chipotle's quest to win back its customers also resonate with the all-important teen demographic, so adored by businesses thanks to their disposable income and potential to become life-long customers? Considering how much cash teens drop at restaurants, more free food might just be the answer.