From here I found out a lot about chevrons on the Boeing 787, but not enough to satisfy why it results in performance loss.
My thinking was originally, if they are "cutting triangular holes" in the "bell cone", then some part of the exhaust will expand sooner than others. (I'm more of a rocket guy myself). Or you could think of it as "adding triangular extensions" to the optimal bell-cone, in which case some parts of the exhaust will expand later than usual. Or you could meet in the middle, which is probably the best way, but will still result in suboptimal expansion.
But I find myself wondering about an even simpler analogy: If sound is wasted energy from an engine (that could have gone into thrust), then reducing sound somehow must mean that otherwise wasted energy has actually gone into thrust production and therefor would boost thrust performance?
So which is it really, and why?