1. Channel: Restaurants

McDonalds and The Comeback Kids

 

Happy
meals make moms happy, well that is what Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru®
at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice
Solutions®
believes. Fresh food fast, stop-in, drive-in, or drive-thru a McDonalds and get a happy
meal has been a family staple since 1979 pleasing kid, grand kids, parents, and
grandparents.

Johnson stated, “reinviting a
previous customer to come back is a sure way to edify your brand, build topline
sales and bottom-line profits.”

Recently
there were few surprises within Piper Sandler’s 
semi-annual
Gen Z survey released this week
. The survey, which comes out each April and October,
examines teens’ favorites brands, among other preferences.

While
Chick-fil-A remains teens’ favorite restaurant chain, according to the survey
of more than 7,100 consumers with an average age of 16.2 years. The
Atlanta-based chicken chain has been on top for these consumers for at least
the past five years and currently generates 13% of their wallet share. That
said, Chick-fil-A’s wallet share among teens was at 18% in both April 2021 and
April 2022.  


So,
the second- and- third-favorite brands have also remained consistent –
Starbucks and Chipotle – though it’s worth noting these two chains have
jockeyed back and forth throughout the past few years. In April 2021, Starbucks
was No. 2, with 12% of teens’ wallet share, for instance, while Chipotle moved
to the second spot in April 2022, with 14%. Just one percentage point
separated those two brands for both surveys.

However,
this year, however, Starbucks leapfrogged Chipotle again and seems to have
gained a stronger lead; Starbucks generated 12% of wallet share, while Chipotle
is at No. 3, with 7%.

Extending
your brand messaging works, as another narrative from this most recent survey
is that McDonald’s is
gaining footing. In April 2021, McDonald’s was tied for fifth with 3%. Last
spring, it moved up to fourth with 4%. This spring, the Golden Arches is still
fourth, but now generates 6% of wallet share – doubling its spend among this
demographic in just two years.

Regular
readers of this blog know that, McDonald’s has made 
plenty of
efforts
 to
attract younger consumers since then, including its Famous Orders carousel that
kicked off in 2020 with the Travis Scott Meal. The chain has subsequently
driven traffic – and interest – with additional promotions such as the BTS and
Saweetie meals, the Cactus Plant Flea Market collaboration and more. McDonald’s
could keep this momentum going, as a 
recent Morning
Consult survey
 found
that the chain also appeals to 
Generation Alpha – those born between
2010 and 2024.

The
report points out that is also worth noting that Olive Garden has entered the
fray among this demographic, coming in at No. 5 in the fall of 2022 and staying
put this spring with 3% of wallet share. The No. 5 spot was previously held by
Dunkin. Olive Garden has experienced several strong quarters recently,
outpacing many of its casual dining peers on traffic and sales as it aims to
keep prices lower. The chain’s limited-time return of its Never-Ending Pasta
Bowl in October provided a major tailwind, and its full staffing levels have
also driven 
strong guest
satisfaction scores
.


Did
you know that during Darden Restaurants’ most recent earnings call, CEO Rich
Cardenas said, “Our data would tell us that our that we’re getting a
little bit younger than we were before COVID across all of our brands. That’s
somewhat driven by an increase in to-go business. But the great news is a lot
of these folks had actually used us for to go for the first time and that’s
their first visit to us or actually starting to come into our restaurant too,
so it was kind of a handshake to come in.”

This
is important, another takeaway from the spring survey is that teens’ interest
in plant-based consumption has fallen sharply since April 2021, when 49% of
teens said they either consume or are willing to try plant-based meat. This is
compared to 42% of teens now.

Overall,
teen spending is relatively strong despite an uncertain macroeconomic
environment. Piper Sandler’s spring 2023 survey shows a 2% increase
year-over-year. Food remains the top spend category for male teenagers, at 24%
share. These consumer surveys are important as younger generations swiftly gain
tremendous
amount of spending power
.


Teenagers’
wallet share, April 2021:

·        
Chick-fil-A,
18%

·        
Starbucks,
12%

·        
Chipotle,
11%

·        
Dunkin’
4%

·        
In-N-Out
and McDonald’s, tied at 3%

April
2022

·        
Chick-fil-A,
18%

·        
Chipotle,
14%

·        
Starbucks,
13%

·        
McDonald’s,
4%

·        
Dunkin’
3 %

April
2023

·        
Chick-fil-A,
13%

·        
Starbucks,
12%

·        
Chipotle,
7%

·        
McDonald’s,
6%

·        
Olive
Garden, 3%

Looking for success clues of your own? Foodservice
Solutions®
specializes in outsourced food
marketing and business development ideations. We can help you identify,
quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities, technology,
or a new menu product segment.  
Foodservice
Solutions®
of Tacoma WA is
the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit us on our social media sites by
clicking one of the following links:
Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter

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