Restaurant Performance Index Remained Positive in February

Foodservice industry remains in a period of expansion despite the challenging weather.

The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index stood at 102.6 in February, generally in line with January's reading of 102.7. A reading in excess of 100 indicates a period of expansion for the restaurant industry.

"With same-store sales and customer traffic levels being impacted by challenging weather conditions in parts of the country, the Current Situation component of the RPI declined in February," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. "However, this was offset by a solid improvement in the Expectations component of the index, as restaurant operators are increasingly optimistic about business conditions in the months ahead. As a result, the overall RPI held relatively steady in February."

The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 102.0 in February, down from a level of 102.7 in January. Key data points from the Current Situation Index include:

  • Sixty percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between February 2014 and February 2015, down from 70 percent who reported higher sales in January. Twenty-four percent of operators reported a same-store sales decline in February, up from 17 percent in January.
  • Forty-seven percent of restaurant operators reported an increase in customer traffic between February 2014 and February 2015, down from 66 percent who reported higher traffic in January. Thirty-two percent of operators said their traffic declined in February, up from 21 percent who reported similarly in January.
  • Fifty-nine percent of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months, which marked the fifth consecutive month in which a majority of operators reported making an expenditure.

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 103.3 in February, up 0.5 percent from January's level of 102.8. Key data points from the Expectations Index include:

  • Fifty-nine percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in 6 months (compared to the same period in the previous year), up from 57 percent who reported similarly last month.
  • Thirty-seven percent of restaurant operators said they expect economic conditions to improve in 6 months, up slightly from 35 percent last month.
  • Sixty-four percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months, up from 57 percent who reported similarly last month.
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