Restaurant Performance Index Remained at More Than 100 in July Despite Softer Sales and Traffic Levels

Same-store sales remained positive but restaurant operators are less optimistic about the economy.

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The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) declined for the second consecutive month in July. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 100.7 in July, down 0.6 percent from June's level of 101.3. Despite the decline, the RPI remained at more than 100 for the fifth consecutive month, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

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The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in 4 industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 100.1 in July – down 0.6 percent from a level of 100.7 in June and the second consecutive monthly drop.

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Although restaurant operators continued to report net positive same-store sales in July, the results were softer than the previous two months. Key data points from the Current Situation Index include:

  • Forty-four percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between July 2012 and July 2013, down from 52 percent who reported higher sales in June and 63 percent who reported a sales gain in May. In comparison, 36 percent of operators reported a decline in same-store sales in July, up slightly from 34 percent in June.
  • Thirty-five percent of restaurant operators reported higher customer traffic levels between July 2012 and July 2013, while 43 percent of operators said their traffic declined. In June, 43 percent of operators reported an increase in customer traffic, while 39 percent reported lower traffic levels.
  • Fifty-eight percent of operators saying they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months, up from 52 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 101.3 in July – down 0.6 percent from June and the lowest level in seven months. 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), down from 46 percent who reported similarly last month. Meanwhile, 9 percent of restaurant operators expect their sales volume in six months to be lower than it was during the same period in the previous year, compared to 11 percent last month.
  • Fifty-three percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next 6 months, down from 59 percent who reported similarly last month.
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