Everyone is blaming millennials for McDonald’s recent sales decline.
People in their 20s and 30s say they favor fast-casual joints like Chipotle, Five Guys, and Panera Bread. They claim they care about things like food quality, customization, and ethics that McDonald’s can’t offer.
“Increasingly, younger diners are seeking out fresher, healthier food and chains that offer customizable menu options for little more than the price of a combo meal,” The Wall Street Journal reported recently.
But a recent report by Morgan Stanley reveals the difference between what millennials say and what they do.
McDonald’s is still the most visited restaurant for the demographic, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley.
Chipotle is the first fast-casual chain to appear on the list, coming in 11th place.
While millennials frequented McDonald’s, it was the least likely to receive their endorsement.
In other words, millennials are going to McDonald’s, but they aren’t likely to admit to it.
People in their 20s and 30s told Morgan Stanley that a lack of food quality at McDonald’s was a reason they would not recommend the brand to a friend.
But McDonald’s also has a few things going for it: it’s cheap, fast, and ubiquitous.
Chipotle has nothing close to a Dollar Menu. It also doesn’t offer the convenience of a drive-thru.
Millennials have ideals about food that is high quality, free of additives, and sustainable.
But they are also underemployed and more likely to be working multiple jobs to pay off student-loan debt.
So while millennials might not agree with McDonald’s business practices, it’s not likely they’re going to boycott the company.