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U-M Study: 'Cool' People Opt For Coffee Over Fast Food

Jul 27, 2015

Are you a coffee shop frequenter or do you prefer a fast food restaurant? A University of Michigan researcher has codified the "cool factor" of both types of places. While coffee shops and fast food restaurants have both enjoyed strong employment growth in recent years - 2 to 3 times faster than the economy overall.

Donald Grimes, of the U of M institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy says clientele between the two places is  actually quite different.  Fast food restaurants are filled with working class customers and young mothers taking their kids for a treat, while the typical coffee shop is filled with college students or young and middle aged professionals sipping a latte and playing on their iPad. 

Grime's "cool place index" compares the number of fast food workers to the number of coffee shop employees in each state.  Grimes said, "Given the different customer base, local economies should vary in their concentration in fast-food restaurants and coffee shops. Some economies should have more activity in coffee shops and some should have more in fast-food restaurants, and sure enough, they do."

"Given the different customer base, local economies should vary in their concentration in fast-food restaurants and coffee shops. Some economies should have more activity in coffee shops and some should have more in fast-food restaurants, and sure enough, they do," Grimes said. "Michigan ranks 31st, right behind our football rivals in Ohio. Ouch."