Positive Sales and Customer Traffic Drive Restaurant Performance Index to 14-Month High

Restaurant operators also report an increase capital expenditures. 

The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) stood at 101.8 in May, a 14-month high. This represented a 0.9 percent increase from April and the third consecutive monthly gain. RPI scores in excess of 100 indicate expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

The Current Situation Index, which measures trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 101.6 in May – up 1.6 percent from a level of 100.1 in April. Key data points include:

  • Sixty-three percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between May 2012 and May 2013, up from 49 percent who reported higher sales in April. Just 23 percent of operators reported a decline in same-store sales in May, down from 33 percent in April.
  • Forty-seven percent of restaurant operators reported higher customer traffic levels between May 2012 and May 2013, while 30 percent of operators said their traffic declined. In April, 36 percent of operators reported an increase in customer traffic, while 40 percent reported lower traffic levels.
  • Fifty-two percent of operators saying they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months, up from 47 percent who reported similarly last month.

The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators' six-month outlook for four industry indicators (same-store sales, employees, capital expenditures and business conditions), stood at 102.0 in May – the strongest level in 12 months. Each of the four expectations indicators stood at more than 100 for the fifth consecutive month, which indicates broad-based optimism for business conditions in the coming months. Key data points include:

  • Forty-seven percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in 6 months (compared to the same period in the previous year), up from 41 percent last month. Only 8 percent of restaurant operators expect their sales volume in 6 months to be lower than it was during the same period in the previous year, the lowest level in 12 months.
  • Fifty-seven percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next 6 months, down slightly from 59 percent who reported similarly last month.