WASHINGTON, D.C. —The outlook for the restaurant industry continued to improve in January, as the National Restaurant Association's comprehensive index of restaurant activity registered its third gain in the last four months.
For the 30th consecutive month, restaurant operators reported an increase in same-store sales. Fifty-eight percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between January 2005 and January 2006 – down slightly from 60 percent of operators who registered a sales gain in December. Twenty-five percent of operators reported a same-store sales decline between January 2005 and January 2006, while 17 percent of operators reported no change in sales.
The NRA's Restaurant Performance Index—a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry—stood at 102.3 in January, up 0.3 percent from December and its highest level in 13 months. January also represented the 31st consecutive month above 100—a level which represents expansion in the Association's composite index of eight key industry indicators.
The Restaurant Performance Index is based on the responses to the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey, which is fielded monthly among restaurant operators nationwide on a variety of indicators including sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures. The Index consists of two components: the Current Situation Index and the Expectations Index.