Fueled by lower gas prices, restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales and customer traffic levels.
The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) hit 102.8 in October, an increase of 1.8 percent from September.
The RPI measures the health of the restaurant industry is measured in relation to a steady-state level of 100. Index values above 100 indicate that key industry indicators are in a period of expansion, while index values below 100 represent a period of contraction for key industry indicators.
The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 103.1 in October – up 2.1 percent from September. Key data points from the Current Situation Index include:
- Seventy-one percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between October 2013 and October 2014, up from 63 percent who reported higher sales in August. Only 11 percent of operators reported a same-store sales decline in October, down from 23 percent in September.
- Fifty-five percent of restaurant operators reported an increase in customer traffic between October 2013 and October 2014, up from 40 percent who reported higher traffic in September. In contrast, only 16 percent of operators said their traffic declined in October, down from 33 percent who reported similarly in September.
- Fifty-seven percent of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months, up from 49 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 102.5 in October – up 1.6 percent from September's level of 100.9. Key data points from the Expectations Index include:
- Fifty-two percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), up from 40 percent who reported similarly last month. Only 6 percent of restaurant operators expect their sales volume in 6 months to be lower than it was during the same period in the previous year, down from 8 percent last month.
- Fifty-nine percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next 6 months, up from 53 percent who reported similarly last month.