Restaurant Performance Index Closes Out 2014 on a High Note

Majority of restaurant operators reported positive same-store sales and customer traffic levels; outlook for continued sales growth remains positive.

The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index stood at 102.9 in December, up 0.8 percent from its November level of 102.1. The RPI’s continued growth was fueled by positive sales and traffic levels, among other factors, according to the National Restaurant Association.

“Overall, the RPI posted three consecutive months above 102 for the first time since the first quarter of 2006, which puts the industry on a positive track heading into 2015,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association. Index values of more than 100 indicate a period of expansion among the collection of restaurant industry key economic indicators. Index values of 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 102.9 in December, up 1.5 percent from a level of 101.4 in November. Key data points from the Current Situation Index include:

  • Seventy-one percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between December 2013 and December 2014, up from 57 percent who reported higher sales in November.
  • Sixty-one percent of restaurant operators reported an increase in customer traffic between December 2013 and December 2014, up from 45 percent who reported higher traffic in November.
  • Sixty percent of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months, up from 54 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 102.9 in December, up 0.1 percent from November. Key data points from the Expectations Index include:

  • Fifty-two percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in 6 months (compared to the same period in the previous year), down slightly from 57 percent who reported similarly last month.
  • Sixty-two percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months, up from 57 percent who reported similarly last month.
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