Restaurant Performance Index Takes Tiny Step Back in September

66 percent of operators made a capital expenditure in the past three months.

The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index registered a reading of 101.4 in September, down 0.1 from August.

Readings of more than 100 represent a period of expansion for the monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry.

The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 101.3 in September – down slightly from a level of 101.4 in August. Key data points from the Current Situation Index include:

  • Fifty-one percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between September 2014 and September 2015, down from 56 percent who reported higher sales in August.
  • Forty-two percent of restaurant operators reported an increase in customer traffic between September 2014 and September 2015, up slightly from 41 percent who reported higher traffic in August.
  • Sixty-six percent of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months, which marked the 12th consecutive month in which a majority of operators reported making an expenditure.

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 101.4 in September – down slightly from a level of 101.6 in August. Key data points from the Expectations Index include:

  • Thirty-five percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), down from 44 percent last month.
  • Sixteen percent of restaurant operators said they expect economic conditions to improve in six months, while 16 percent expect conditions to worsen
  • Sixty-two percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months, up from 60 percent who reported similarly last month.
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