Teenagers Turning Restaurants Into The Cool New Hangout Spots As Malls Die Off

A word to any Hollywood screenwriters working on a scene where old cops go back to high school disguised as implausibly believable students — put those characters at a mall and real teenagers will know you don’t know what’s cool these days. Namely, malls are out, and restaurants are in as the new spot to hangout.

Ever since the 1950s, the mall was the place teens begged their parents to let them go to hang out mostly unsupervised, inspiring such cinematic classics like Mallrats and intense brain games like Mall Madness.

But as malls go the way of the dinosaur, kids these days would rather spend their time and money hanging out and eating food at restaurants than by the mall fountain and shopping at Spencer’s (which yes, still exists, for now), reports Quartz.

Teen mall traffic is down by 30% over the last 10 years, according to Piper Jaffray’s 27th semi-annual study into teen behavior. In 2014, teens on average logged 29 trips each to the mall, compared to 38 visits in 2007. And for the first time since the study started, teens are spending more money on food and events than clothing.

“Restaurants have become a gathering place and teens are increasingly suggesting they prefer dining out to other forms of status brand spending,” the report says. “We see restaurants as the next generation hang out for teens.”

That could be an unwelcome change for other patrons, as cops responded to a Brooklyn McDonald’s recently to deal with a ravening horde of teens accustomed to showing up there on a daily basis, reports the New York Daily News.

“It’s out of control,” one employee said of the usual scene.

Dozens of students had been converging on the McDonald’s every afternoon as school let out, yelling at each other, throwing things, running into people and generally causing a disarray. That is, until adults reclaimed the spot by way of three cops and a security guard.

“I’m going home,” one girl told the NYDN, noting there were now too many police at the McDonald’s.

Ah, authority, the constant killjoy.

American teens don’t hang out at malls anymore. They eat at restaurants [Quartz]
Cops, security guard restore order at Brooklyn McDonald’s [New York Daily News]
Hordes of local youths terrorize a Central Brooklyn McDonald’s during lunch hour, yelling, cursing, running wild and vandalizing furniture, workers say [New York Daily News]

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  1. mongo says:

    Wait! You mean that the Millennials have discovered hanging at the Cholit Shop like the the old folks did back in the 1950-1960s?

  2. CommonC3nts says:

    This is nothing new.
    I was a teen around 2000. We always went to the local “round the clock” open 24 hours restaurant.
    Teens were always more likely to chill at a restaurant then go to the mall.
    Who goes to the mall daily??? No one.
    Going to the mall was only on weekends and usually ended up at a restaurant or someones house afterward.

  3. I’m not sure I’d class McDonalds as a restaurant… when I think of restaurants I think fancy dining, waiter service, etc. not a fast food chain. Though I have noticed an increasing number of the millenials in fast food chains, but such chains that are usually located in the city centre where they can browse the stores too. But if there is a shift towards teens hanging out in ‘restaurants’ than the mall its bad news for the stores and may suggest they need a revamp to draw themillenials back in.

  4. pguyton2 says:

    arcades are kidna pointless now, that was my big draw as a kid; now i have tons of games at home and even on my iphone.

  5. Seli says:

    Well I know around me, several of the malls now have rules disallowing teens to hang out on Friday/Saturday nights without their parents, and certain other rules about not congretating/loitering. They all had to find somewhere else to go.