Restaurant performance shows improvement

September 1, 2009
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The National Restaurant Association’s index of restaurant activity registered its first gain in three months. The Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI), a monthly composite that tracks the U.S. restaurant industry, came in at 98.1 in July, an increase of 0.3 percent from its June level.
The RPI is constructed so that the health of the restaurant industry is measured in relation to a steady-state level of 100. Index values above 100 indicate that industry indicators are in a period of expansion, while index values below 100 represent a period of contraction.
 
“Although restaurant operators continue to report soft same-store sales and customer traffic levels, they are more optimistic about improving conditions in the months ahead,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of Research and Information Services for the Association. “Restaurant operators reported a positive six-month economic outlook, and the proportion expecting higher sales rose to its highest level in three months.”
 
RPI is based on the responses to the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey, fielded monthly among restaurant owners on a variety of indicators including sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures, the association says.
 
In addition to same-store sales remaining down in July, restaurant operators reported low customer traffic levels for the 23rd consecutive month. Capital spending continued at a steady level in recent months, and 40 percent of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the past three months.
 
The RPI is released on the last business day of each month, and more detailed data and analysis can be found on Restaurant TrendMapper’s Web site, www.restaurant.org/trendmapper

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