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NRN editors talk Chipotle’s marketing to Gen Z, Applebee’s Date Night Pass, and America’s Favorite Chains

Plus, hear from Bonchon’s new CEO, Suzie Tsai.


This week on the Extra Serving podcast, a product of Nation’s Restaurant News, NRN editors Holly Petre, Sam Oches, and Alicia Kelso talk about marketing.

First, Chipotle introduced a new student loan retirement match plan and financial planning help for new applicants, specifically aimed at Gen Z. This comes around the time of year when Chipotle is hiring more workers for its busy season, March to May. Chipotle announced it’s looking to hire 19,000 workers this year, an increase from years prior. More than 73% of workers at Chipotle are Gen Z, and these benefits are aimed at the generation with the highest student loan debt and increasingly high credit card debt.

In other news, Applebee’s made another big move with its marketing, this time with a product called the Date Night Pass. For $200, cardholders can get 52 date nights, starting Feb. 1 and going through Jan. 31, 2025, with up to $30 on food and non-alcoholic beverages peruse via dine-in or to-go. That’s roughly $1,500 in value, and the cards sold out within one minute. Now some customers are calling for a boycott of Applebee’s and posting about the card being a “scam.” Is this good buzz for the brand or bad buzz?

That brings us to the star of this episode, America’s Favorite Chains. Earlier this week, NRN released the latest collaboration between NRN and Technomic that ranks America’s favorite chains, according to consumer sentiment data provided by Technomic and its Ignite Consumer platform. The list presents favorites by service style, menu category, and generation, and also offers a top 10 list. Some brands may surprise you and some may not, but the editors are here to dive deeper into the list.

This week’s guest is Bonchon’s new CEO, Suzie Tsai.

Check out America’s Favorite Chains here >>

Get caught up on the LinkedIn Live explaining the data behind the report >>


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