Restaurant Performance Index Climbs to 101.9 in August

Improving same-store sales and customer traffic levels help drive the restaurant industry forward.

The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index stood at 101.9 in August, up 1.0 percent from July.

“The August gain in the RPI was fueled by stronger same-store sales and customer traffic results, aided by continued improving economic conditions,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the NRA.  “Looking forward, restaurant operators remain generally optimistic about continued sales growth, while a majority plans to make a capital expenditure in the next six months. However, operators still report food costs and government among top challenges that continue to negatively affect the operating environment.”

The RPI measures the health of the restaurant industry in relation to a steady-state level of 100. Index values in excess of 100 indicate a period of expansion for key industry indicators, while index values less than 100 represent a period of contraction.

The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 101.8 in August, up 1.1 percent from July. Key data points from the Current Situation Index include:

  • Sixty-two percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between August 2013 and August 2014, up from 54 percent who reported higher sales in July.
  • Forty-five percent of restaurant operators reported an increase in customer traffic between August 2013 and August 2014, up from 41 percent in July.
  • Fifty-nine percent of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the past three months, up from 50 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 102.1 in August, up 0.9 percent from July. Key data points from the Expectations Index include:

  • Forty-five percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), down slightly from 47 percent who reported similarly last month.
  • Fifty-nine percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months, up from 54 percent who reported similarly last month.