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NRN editors discuss Gen Z’s love of McDonald’s, Panera’s possible IPO and Starbucks’ holiday slump

All this and more on this week’s episode of Extra Serving


This week on the Extra Serving podcast, a product of Nation’s Restaurant News, NRN editors Holly Petre, Sam Oches, and Leigh Anne Zinsmeister spoke about Gen Z’s preferences.

According to a new survey by dcdx titled Gen Z’s Top 25 Most Magnetic Brands, Gen Z is a fan of limited-service restaurants, with three brands on the list. Topping that list was McDonald’s, which jumped six spots from last year due to its Grimace promotions, the most popular of which was the Grimace shake, which spurred a TikTok trend. We’ve talked about it before, but what does Gen Z really want from its restaurant brands?

Also, Panera is in the news for a few reasons. First, the chain may be finally ready to file its IPO. After some C-suite leadership changes earlier this year, along with layoffs to slim down, the fast-casual brand may be ready to file its IPO in the first quarter of 2024. However, that’s not all. Panera has come under fire for its charged lemonade, which has allegedly led to two deaths so far. Will this impact the company’s future IPO?

And finally, Starbucks may be gearing up for the holidays, but if Red Cup Day was any example, the company should be expecting softer than normal sales. The quick service chain saw a 32% increase in sales on Red Cup Day this year, down from an 81% increase the year before. Analysts are predicting the chain, which has seen record traffic and sales over the past few years, should be expecting a softer holiday season.


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