Restaurant Performance Index Declined in September

Same-store sales and customer traffic results were mixed.

The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) registered a moderate decline of 0.9 percent in September to a level of 101. Softer customer traffic levels and a somewhat dampened outlook among restaurant operators helped drag down the monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry. Any reading in excess of 100 indicates a period of expansion for the restaurant industry.

The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends among same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures, stood at 101.0 in September — down 0.8 percent from August. Key data points from the Current Situation Index include:

  • Sixty-three percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between September 2013 and September 2014 and 23 percent reported a same-store sales decline for the month.
  • Forty percent of restaurant operators reported an increase in customer traffic between September 2013 and September 2014, while 33 percent reported lower customer traffic.
  • Forty-nine percent of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months, down from 59 percent who reported similarly in August.

The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators' six-month outlook for such industry indicators as same-store sales and capital expenditures, stood at 100.9 in September — down 1.1 percent from August. Key data points from the Expectations Index include:

  • Forty percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months compared to the same period in the previous year, down 5 percent from August. Eight percent of restaurant operators expect their sales volume in six months to be lower than it was during the same period in the previous year.
  • Fifty-three percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next 6 months, down from 59 percent who reported similarly last month.

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