The Restaurant Gen Z Favors The Most, According To A Survey

Ever heard the phrase, "Kids today," usually spoken in a tone reserved for unwanted telemarketers and accompanied by an eye-roll? Gen Z gets a bad rap. But, according to the Oxford Royale Academy, Gen Z is unique for its radical acceptance of differences, its health-conscious attitude, its digital fluency, and its realistic future orientation. Still, by bringing TikTok and avant-garde fashion into the forefront of the public sphere, Gen Z has accrued at least as much negative attention as positive. Admittedly, Gen Z's dining habits have turned more than a few heads with trends like the coffee creamer and sugar-syrup spiked "Dirty Soda." In August, Coca-Cola even rolled out a new flavor targeted at Gen Z's that was supposed to taste like "dreams."

But, Gen Z's general dining preferences at large are something on which many foodies across generations can probably agree. In September, NPD research showed that Gen Z as a whole tends to prefer "fast-casual dining." (Who doesn't love a quick and easy meal?) It makes sense, then, that the restaurant Gen Z favors the most, according to a survey, falls under this category. Piper Sandler's biannual survey asked 14,500 U.S. teens about their dining preferences, and the results are in.

Chick-fil-A takes the No. 1 spot

Without further ado, the moment we've all been waiting for. According to Piper Sandler, Chick-fil-A came out on top. This win comes on top of a solid winning streak for the fast-food giant over the past few years. In 2022, the chain drew a whopping 18% share of Gen Z consumer responses and has taken the number one spot in the American Customer Satisfaction Index for eight years in a row. Top-five runners-up include Starbucks, Chipotle, Olive Garden, and McDonald's, per Nation's Restaurant News.

A 2019 Morning Consult survey found that Chick-fil-A was Number 11 of Gen Z's 25 most-loved brands, along with Netflix, Target, and Doritos. The survey only included adults ages 18-21, and recorded racial and gender demographics per participant. (Interestingly enough, if you sort the survey results by gender, Chick-fil-A doesn't appear anywhere in the ranks of favorite brands for female-identifying participants.) Chick-fil-A also secured the Number One spot with Gen Z fans in Piper Sandler's 2020 survey, via Business Insider. From 2019 to 2020, the chain saw a whopping 20.6% year-over-year growth, hitting $12.6 billion in domestic sales. This year, Chick-fil-A's ranking looks like a victory lap.