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National Restaurant Association - RPI rises in October

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RPI rises in October

Driven by stronger same-store sales and a more optimistic outlook among restaurant operators, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) posted a moderate gain in October. 

The RPI stood at 102.1 in October, up 0.7 percent from a level of 101.4 in September.  In addition, October represented the 32nd consecutive month in which the RPI stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“The October gain in the RPI was buoyed by broad-based improvements in the current situation indicators,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association.  “In addition, restaurant operators are somewhat more optimistic about both sales growth and the economy in the months ahead.”

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 102.5 in October – up 1.2 percent from September and the highest level in three months.  In addition, the Current Situation Index remained above 100 for the 20th consecutive month, which signifies expansion in the current situation indicators.

A majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales for the 20th consecutive month, with October’s results representing the strongest performance since July.  Sixty-one percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between October 2014 and October 2015, up from 51 percent who reported higher sales in September.  Customer traffic results were similar to the August and September readings.  

In addition, 76 percent of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months, and 59 percent plan to make one in the next six months.

The Expectations Index stood at 101.6 in October – up slightly from a level of 101.4 in September. October represented the 36th consecutive month in which the Expectations Index stood above 100, which indicates restaurant operators remain generally optimistic about business conditions in the coming months. Restaurant operators reversed a downward trending sales outlook with somewhat more optimistic expectations, with 40  percent expecting to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), up from 35 percent who reported similarly last month.

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

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