The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) is a monthly composite index tracking the health and growth trends of the U.S. restaurant industry. The Index measures current trends in same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures. This February the RPI hit its highest number in over two years, its strongest level since November 2007.
The RPI’s strong gain was the result of broad-based improvements among the forward-looking indicators, with continued optimism for sales growth among operators and evidence of rising capital spending. Although many operators reported net negative traffic customer in February, twenty-five percent reported increased traffic for the year to date.
Despite the soft current indicators, restaurant operators are increasingly optimistic about the direction of the economy and sales growth for the coming six month period. Thirty-eight percent of operators surveyed said they expect the economy to improve within next six months. Forty-four percent said they also expect to see higher sales in the same period. Many restaurant operators also had a positive outlook on new jobs with twenty-two percent reporting they expect to increase staff levels within six months and nearly half (forty-eight percent) said they will make an expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling as well.
The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index provides a detailed analysis of restaurant industry trends based on owner/operator responses to the Association’s monthly Tracking Survey. The Index is released on the last business day of each month.