Although same-store sales and customer traffic indicators remained mixed, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) bounced back above 100 in January. The RPI stood at 100.6 in January, up 0.8 percent from December’s level of 99.7. The January gain pushed the RPI above the 100 level, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.
“Despite an uptick in the RPI in the first month of the year, restaurant operators still report mixed results about their business environment,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association. “Except for the capital expenditures arena, the current situation indicators remain dampened. However, operators are somewhat more optimistic regarding higher sales in six months.”
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 99.7 in January – up 0.3 percent from a level of 99.4 in December. January represented the second consecutive month in which the Current Situation Index stood below 100, which signifies contraction in the current situation indicators.
For the second consecutive month, restaurant operators reported mixed same-store sales results. Forty-four percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between January 2015 and January 2016, while 43 percent reported a sales decline. January also represented the second straight month in which restaurant operators reported a net decline in customer traffic levels.
The Expectations Index stood at 101.5 in January – up 1.3 percent from a level of 100.1 in December. January represented the 39th consecutive month in which the Expectations Index stood above 100, which indicates a generally positive outlook for business conditions in the months ahead.
Restaurant operators’ outlook for sales growth improved somewhat from the previous month. Thirty-nine percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), up from only 27 percent last month and the highest level in three months.
More details are available at Restaurant.org/RPI and Restaurant TrendMapper (subscription required).