Restaurant Industry's Performance Declined in December

Fifty percent of operators plan to make a capital expenditure in the next six months, the survey reports.

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The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) declined to 99.7 in December, down 0.2 percent from the previous month. This was the third consecutive month the RPI stood at less than 100, which indicates contraction in the index of key foodservice industry economic indicators.

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"Although restaurant operators reported softer same-store sales and customer traffic levels in December, they are cautiously optimistic about sales growth in the months ahead," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association.

The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 99.1 in December — down 0.7 percent from November and the lowest level in nearly two years. December represented the fourth consecutive month in which the Current Situation Index stood at less than 100. Key data points from the Current Situation Index include:

  • Forty-two percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between December 2011 and December 2012, down from 55 percent who reported positive sales in November. Also, 38 percent of operators reported lower same-store sales in December, up from 30 percent in November.
  • Thirty-one percent of restaurant operators reported higher customer traffic levels between December 2011 and December 2012, down from 43 percent who reported positive traffic in November. Also, percent of operators reported lower customer traffic levels in December, up from 35 percent in November.
  • Forty-five percent of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months.

The Expectations Index stood at 100.3 in December — up 0.3 percent from November. Key data points from the Expectations Index include:

  • Thirty-seven percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), unchanged from November. Also, 16 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, up slightly from 14 percent last month.
  • Fifty percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months, up from 45 percent who reported similarly last month.
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