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The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index stood at 100.2 in January, down 0.8 percent from its December level. Despite the decline, January marked the fourth time in the last five months that the RPI stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.
“The RPI’s January decline was due in large to part to dampened sales and traffic levels as a result of extreme weather in some parts of the country,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association. “Although restaurant operators reported softer same-store sales and customer traffic results in January, their outlook for sales growth and the economy remained optimistic.”
The RPI is constructed so that the health of the restaurant industry is measured in relation to a steady-state level of 100. It consists of two components, the Current Situation Index and the Expectations Index.
The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures, stood at 98.6 in January – down 1.1 percent from its December level. The Current Situation Index remained below 100 for the third consecutive month, which signifies contraction in the current situation indicators.
Restaurant operators also reported a net decline in customer traffic levels in January.
Despite the softer sales and traffic levels, restaurant operators continued to report relatively steady levels of capital spending.
The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for same-store sales, employees, capital expenditures and business conditions, stood at 101.8 in January – down 0.5 percent from December’s 45-month high of 102.4. Despite the decline, the Expectations Index stood above the 100 level for the sixth consecutive month, which signifies expansion in the forward-looking indicators.
Restaurant operators remain optimistic that their sales levels will improve in the months ahead.
Restaurant operators are also relatively optimistic about the direction of the overall economy.
Buoyed by a positive outlook for sales and the economy, restaurant operators’ plans for capital expenditures remained relatively steady.
For the fourth consecutive month, restaurant operators reported a positive outlook for staffing gains in the months ahead.