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National Restaurant Association - Dampened customer traffic continues to affect RPI

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Dampened customer traffic continues to affect RPI

Although challenging weather conditions in many parts of the country continued to impact customer traffic in February, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) remained above 100 for the 12th consecutive month.  The RPI stood at 100.5 in February, down 0.2 percent from January’s level of 100.7.  Despite the modest decline, the fact that the overall RPI remains above 100 continues to signify expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“Restaurant operators continued to report net positive same-store sales results in February, despite customer traffic levels that were challenged by the weather,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association.

“Looking forward, operators are generally optimistic about sales gains in the months ahead, although they aren’t as bullish about the overall economy,” he said.

The RPI consists of two components – the Current Situation Index (measuring current trends) and the Expectations Index (measuring restaurant operators' six-month outlook) – and tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry.

The Current Situation Index stood at 99.3 in February – down 0.2 percent from January’s level of 99.5 and the third consecutive month below 100. Although results were mixed in February, restaurant operators reported net positive same-store sales for the 12th consecutive month.  Forty-four percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between February 2013 and February 2014, while 37 percent of operators reported a sales decline. February marked the third consecutive month in which fewer than half of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales.

In contrast, restaurant operators reported a net decline in customer traffic for the third consecutive month. Operators also reported a dip in capital spending activity.

The Expectations Index stood at 101.7 in February – down slightly from January’s level of 101.8.  Despite the modest downtick, February represented the 16th consecutive month in which the Expectations Index stood above 100, which indicates that restaurant operators remain optimistic about business conditions in the coming months.

Along with the generally optimistic sales outlook, a majority of restaurant operators are planning for capital expenditures in the coming months.

More details are available at Restaurant.org/RPI and Restaurant TrendMapper (subscription required).



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