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National Restaurant Association - RPI remained positive in March

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RPI remained positive in March

As a result of higher same-store sales and a continued optimistic outlook for future business conditions, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) remained in positive territory in March. The RPI stood at 102.2 in March, down 0.4 percent from February’s level of 102.6.

Despite the decline, March marked the 25th consecutive month in which the RPI stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“Although a majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales in March, customer traffic levels were somewhat dampened,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association.  “Looking forward, restaurant operators remain solidly optimistic about future business conditions, with six in 10 expecting to have 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 101.8 in March – down slightly from a level of 102.0 in February. Despite the decline, the Current Situation Index stood above 100 for the 13th consecutive month.

Sixty-two percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between March 2014 and March 2015, compared with 60 percent of operators reporting similarly in February. However, restaurant operators reported dampened customer traffic results in March.

The Expectations Index stood at 102.6 in March – down 0.7 percent from February’s level of 103.3.  Despite the decline, March represented the 29th consecutive month in which the Expectations Index stood above 100, which indicates a positive outlook for business conditions in the coming months.

For the 19th consecutive month, a majority of restaurant operators said they are planning for capital expenditures in the months ahead.  Fifty-three percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months. In addition, 56 percent made a capital expenditure in the last three months. 

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

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