Same-store sales remained positive despite lower customer traffic levels; restaurant operators are generally optimistic about future business conditions.
The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) registered a moderate decline of 0.6 percent in December to 100.5. Despite the softer December results, the study shows that restaurant operators remain generally optimistic about business conditions in the months ahead.
The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 99.5 in December, down 1.7 percent from November. Key findings from the Current Situation Index include:
- Forty-four percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between December 2012 and December 2013, down from 57 percent who reported higher sales in November.
- Thirty percent of restaurant operators reported customer traffic growth between December 2012 and December 2013, down from 47 percent who reported a traffic gain in November.
- Fifty-two percent of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months.
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 101.5 in December, up 0.4 percent from a level of 101.1 in November. Key data points from the Expectations Index include:
- Thirty-eight percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months compared to the same period in the previous year, unchanged from the proportion who reported similarly last month.
- Sixty-one percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months, up from 55 percent who reported similarly last month.