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National Restaurant Association - Restaurant Performance Index fell to lowest level in 13 months

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Restaurant Performance Index fell to lowest level in 13 months

Dampened by softer sales and traffic levels and continued uncertainty among restaurant operators, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) declined for the second consecutive month in August. 

RPI_August2011.jpgThe RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 99.4 in August, down 0.3 percent from July.  In addition, August marked the second consecutive month that the RPI stood below 100, the level above which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“The August decline in the Restaurant Performance Index resulted from softening of both current situation and expectations indicators, as well as Hurricane Irene,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association.  “Although restaurant operators reported net positive same-store sales results in August, their six-month outlook for both sales growth and the economy continued to deteriorate.”

“It is important to note that the industry’s August performance is a substantial improvement over the 2008-2009 period, but overall, the near-term health of the restaurant industry will depend heavily on the economy’s ability to create jobs and bolster consumer confidence,” Riehle added.

The Restaurant Performance Index 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 August – down 0.5 percent from July and the second consecutive monthly decline. Although restaurant operators reported net positive same-store sales in August, the overall results were softer than recent months. Meanwhile, restaurant operators reported a net decline in customer traffic for the first time in three months. 

The Expectations Index stood at 99.5 in August – down 0.1 percent from July and the lowest level in nearly two years.  In addition, August represented the second consecutive month that the Expectations Index stood below 100, which illustrates restaurant operators’ uncertainty about business conditions in the months ahead.      

Overall, restaurant operators reported relatively steady levels of capital spending, and are slightly more optimistic about capital spending in the months ahead.

For more details, read our news release, full RPI report and subscription-based Restaurant TrendMapper.

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