Restaurant Performance Index Rebounds in September

The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) posted a reading of 100.8 in September, up 1.2 percent from August. Any reading in excess of 100 indicates a period of expansion for the restaurant industry. Despite the improvement, operators remain wary about the outlook for the restaurant industry.

“September’s RPI uptick was aided by gains in the current situation indicators, which have been soft in recent months,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association. “Meanwhile, the forward-looking indicators are becoming more muted. Operators are decreasingly optimistic looking toward the months ahead. In fact, 3 in 10 operators say they expect economic conditions to worsen in the next six months.”

The Current Situation Index stood at 101.0 in September — up 2.5 percent from a level of 98.6 in August. Key data points from the Current Situation Index include:

  • 49 percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales increase between September 2015 and September 2016.
  • 40 percent of restaurant operators reported an increase in customer traffic.
  • 62 percent of restaurant operators made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last 3 months.

The Expectations Index stood at 100.6 in September — unchanged from August. Key data points from the expectations index include:

  • 28 percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), down from 33 percent last month. Seventeen percent expect their sales volume in six months to be lower than it was during the same period in the previous year.
  • 14 percent of operators say they expect economic conditions to improve in 6 months, compared to 29 percent who say they expect conditions to worsen.
  • 64 percent of restaurant operators say they plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months.
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