Chick-fil-A most popular restaurant among teens: poll

A franchise sign is seen above a Chick-fil-A freestanding restaurant after its grand opening in Midtown, New York, October 3, 2015.
A franchise sign is seen above a Chick-fil-A freestanding restaurant after its grand opening in Midtown, New York, October 3, 2015. | Reuters/Rashid Umar Abbasi

A new poll reveals that Chick-fil-A is the most popular restaurant among American teens, mirroring the results of other surveys of both youth and adults finding a high level of admiration for the fast food chain. 

The 44th semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens survey, released last week, compiled economic statistics, including information about the spending habits of 14,500 teenagers in the U.S., based on responses collected between Aug. 12 and Sept. 23. The investment bank Piper Sandler commissioned the poll.

The survey identified Chick-fil-A as the most popular restaurant among American teens, with 18% of respondents selecting the fast food chain as their favorite restaurant. Starbucks finished in second place, with 12% of teens citing the coffee chain as their favorite restaurant. The other restaurants mentioned in the top five had less than 10% of respondents identifying the eatery as their favorite. Rounding out the top five were Chipotle (7%), McDonald’s (6%)  and Olive Garden (3%).

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This is not the first time public opinion polling among young Americans has demonstrated high popularity for Chick-fil-A. A 2019 Morning Consult study titled “Understanding Gen Z” found that Chick-fil-A ranked 11th out of 25 on a list of brands presented to members of Generation Z who completed the survey. Participants were asked to rate the brands based on the likelihood that they would use them daily. No other restaurant ranked higher on the list. 

Additionally, the findings of last week’s survey match the results of previous polls determining that a plurality of adults list Chick-fil-A as their favorite fast food restaurant. For eight consecutive years, adults responding to the American Customer Satisfaction Index Restaurant Study have offered high praise for Chick-fil-A, ranking it above all its competitors. 

The restaurant has drawn acclaim for both its food and its level of service over the years, as well as its adherence to Christian values. Founded by the late outspoken Christian S. Truett Cathy in 1946, the restaurant does not open on Sundays, thereby allowing employees to go to church or use the day to do what they please. Chick-fil-A has adopted a corporate purpose seeking “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”  

At the same time, Chick-fil-A’s insistence on abiding by Christian values has generated controversy over the years. Leaders in major U.S. cities worked to keep the restaurant from opening up locations on their turf due to CEO Dan Cathy’s 2012 comments expressing his belief that marriage should remain a “biblical commitment” consisting of a union between one man and one woman. Cathy’s remarks, which came at a time when many states had yet to legalize same-sex marriage, prompted calls for a boycott from LGBT activists. 

In recent years, Chick-fil-A has faced criticism from Christian activists who rallied around the restaurant when it faced pushback over its traditional beliefs on marriage. In 2019, Tony Perkins of the socially conservative think tank Family Research Council accused the fast food chain of working to “capitulate to the bullies” by halting donations to three nonprofit organizations that have affirmed their support for traditional marriage.

Specifically, the Chick-fil-A Foundation decided to stop donating to the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Paul Anderson Youth Home in Georgia. Rev. Franklin Graham, the president of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, spoke to Cathy on the phone and attempted to assure concerned Christians that the company was not abandoning the values that made it so popular. 

“Chick-fil-A remains committed to Christian values,” Graham stated in a Facebook post at the time. “Dan was very clear that they have not bowed down to anyone’s demands, including the LGBTQ community. They will continue to support whatever they want to support.”

Cathy elaborated on the company’s new policy in a letter to American Family Association President and American Family Radio President Tim Wildmon, stating that the “changes to our giving strategy at the Chick-fil-A Foundation” were designed to “better focus on hunger, homelessness, and education.” Cathy acknowledged that by announcing its intention to stop donating to the three faith-based organizations, his company “inadvertently discredited several outstanding organizations that have effectively served communities for years.”

“Some also questioned if our commitment to our Corporate Purpose was waning. Let me assure you: it’s not,” he added.

Chick-fil-A currently operates more than 2,600 restaurants spanning 47 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Canada and Puerto Rico. According to Restaurant Business, Chick-fil-A was the third-largest fast-food chain in 2019, selling more than $11 billion worth of food. Only McDonald’s and Starbucks generated a higher number of sales that year. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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