These 5 restaurants will dominate the fast-food industry

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The restaurant industry is getting increasingly competitive as more and more people take advantage of falling grocery prices by eating at home.

When eating out, consumers are increasingly looking for healthy, convenient food options that don't break the bank.

To get an indication of which restaurants chains will dominate the industry over the next decade, analysts should look at where teens are spending their money.

Teens spend the biggest chunk of their budgets on eating out, and the restaurants that win their favor are potentially gaining lifelong customers.

Here are the top five restaurants among upper-income teens, according to a new survey by Piper Jaffray.

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These 5 restaurants will dominate the fast-food industry
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These 5 restaurants will dominate the fast-food industry

5. McDonald's

McDonald's has maintained its No. 5 spot since the last survey six months ago. 

But that's a decline from year ago, when it was teens' fourth favorite chain. 

Piper Jaffrey analysts say McDonald's has been losing customers to Chick-fil-A.

"Survey results suggest continued competitive intrusion from Chick-fil-A (specifically among average income teens)," analysts wrote. However, they also noted that "McDonald's overwhelming lead as the preferred hamburger brand was maintained in the latest survey cycle."

The chain's low prices are a big draw for cash-strapped young people, who are more likely to be underemployed and working multiple jobs to pay off student-loan debt.

"We believe operational, culinary, and technology initiatives position McDonald's for continued improvement over the next several years," analysts said.

Matt Crossick/ EMPICS Entertainment.

3. Chick-fil-A

The chain, which is best known for its crispy fried chicken and waffle fries, generates more revenue per restaurant than any other fast-food chain in the US.

Chick-fil-A's average sales per restaurant in 2015 were $3.9 million. Its fried-chicken competitor KFC sold about $1 million per restaurant that year.

Despite its relatively small size, Chick-fil-A also ranks highly in terms of its total system-wide sales.

The chain generated nearly $6.8 billion in revenue in 2015, making it the eighth-largest fast-food chain in the US, according to QSR magazine.

Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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