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A Foolish Take: Gen Z Diners Love Chick-fil-A

By Leo Sun - Oct 14, 2019 at 12:27PM

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America's youngest diners are fueling the rise of this growing fast-food giant.

Earlier this year, a Morning Consult survey found that Gen Z adults (between the ages of 18 to 21) ranked Chick-fil-A as their favorite restaurant brand. Piper Jaffray's latest "Taking Stock with Teens" survey, which polled 9,500 teenagers with an average age of 15.8, also ranked Chick-fil-A as the top restaurant for that cohort.

Chart showing the top five restaurants for U.S. teens

Data source: Piper Jaffray. Chart by author.

Those results are alarming for bigger fast-food chains like McDonald's (MCD -0.09%) and Starbucks (SBUX 0.23%). Chick-fil-A already ranked third behind those two leaders in Nation's Restaurant News' annual list of the country's largest fast-food chains. Chick-fil-A's sales rose 17% to $10.5 billion in 2018, while Starbucks and McDonald's generated $20.5 billion and $38.5 billion, respectively, in domestic sales.

Chick-fil-A has grown its sales every year since it was founded in 1946, and Kalinowski Equity Research told Business Insider that its annual sales could eventually hit $30 billion, making it the second-largest fast-food chain in America. Chick-fil-A's rivals are fighting back with new chicken sandwiches, but the brand's strength -- even amid controversies about the company's opposition to same-sex marriage -- makes it a formidable rival in the fast-food market.

Leo Sun has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Chipotle Mexican Grill and Starbucks. The Motley Fool recommends Dunkin' Brands Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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McDonald's Corporation Stock Quote
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