Forty three percent of operators made a capital expenditure in past three months.
For the first time in three months, the September National Restaurant Association Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) exceeded 100, signaling expansion among key industry indexes. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 100.1 in September, up 0.7 from August and its highest level since June.
The RPI consists of two components, the Current Situation Index and the Expectations Index.
The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 100.1 in September – up 0.8 percent from August and the first gain in three months.
Fifty percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between September 2010 and September 2011, up from 45 percent who reported a sales gain in August. In comparison, 34 percent of operators reported lower same-store sales in September, down slightly from 37 percent in August.
Forty-three percent of restaurant operators reported higher customer traffic levels between September 2010 and September 2011, while 33 percent of operators reported a traffic decline. In August, only 34 percent of operators reported higher customer traffic, while 42 percent reported a traffic decline.
Forty-three percent of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months, essentially unchanged from 44 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 100.2 in September – up 0.7 percent from August and the strongest gain in nine months.
Thirty-seven percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months compared to the same period in the previous year, up from 33 percent last month, which represented the lowest level in 19 months. In comparison, 19 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, down from 23 percent who reported similarly last month.
Meanwhile, restaurant operators' outlook for the overall economy remains mixed, albeit somewhat more optimistic than last month. Twenty-two percent of restaurant operators said they expect economic conditions to improve in six months, up slightly from 18 percent who reported similarly last month. Twenty-three percent of operators said they expect economic conditions to worsen in the next six months, down from 31 percent who reported similarly last month.
Forty-seven percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months, up 44 percent who reported similarly last month.
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