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Teen preference for limited service hits high

The rise of fast-casual concepts tied to this shift

Quick-service restaurants continue to be a favorite choice for teen diners, and the rise of fast-casual concepts has contributed to a greater shift in preference towards limited-service in general, according to a recent note by investment firm Piper Jaffray about teen spending on food outside the home.

Overall, the share of teen wallets dedicated to food has returned to peak levels, with food spending accounting for about a quarter of the wallet of upper-income teens, or those part of households that earn at least $100,000 annually.

When it comes to the restaurant segment, 65 percent of teens preferred limited-service restaurants as of spring 2018, compared with 43 percent who said the same in spring 2009. Preference for limited-service restaurants bottomed out in spring 2010, with 41 percent of teens expressing a preference for limited service.

Drilling down further into segment preferences, as of spring 2018, 48 percent of surveyed teens said they preferred quick-service restaurants, 30 percent said they preferred casual dining, 16 percent said they preferred fast casual, and 5 percent said they preferred another kind of restaurant.

In spring 2010, casual-dining restaurants reached a high among surveyed teens, with 53 percent saying they preferred this type of restaurant. During the same season, 31 percent said they preferred quick service, 10 percent said they preferred fast casual, and 6 percent said they preferred another kind of restaurant.

Contact Marcella Veneziale at [email protected]

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