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National Restaurant Association - Performance index: Sales, traffic down, but outlook stable

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Performance index: Sales, traffic down, but outlook stable

The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index posted a moderate decline in July, the result of softer same-store sales and customer traffic, but the operator outlook for business conditions over the next six months remained stable, said Hudson Riehle, our senior vice president of research.

According to Riehle, the July RPI was 101.1, a decrease of 0.6 percent from June.

Here are some economic and industry highlights for July:

Job growth
The industry continued to add jobs – another 26,200 for the month. Over the past year, the industry has added 203,000 jobs, and the industry’s employment growth rate is at 1.7 percent. That is slightly above the national employment growth rate of 1.6 percent.

Capital spending
July’s report found that 66 percent of restaurant operators said they made a capital expenditure, such as a restaurant remodeling or purchase of new equipment, over the past three months, and 59 percent said they plan to do so within the next six months.

The commodities market
Regarding wholesale food inflation, that index edged back a bit, but is still running at a 0.3 percent rate, year-to-date. Among certain commodities, such as eggs, potatoes and tomatoes, prices rose, while others, like fresh vegetables, pork and poultry, decreased. Here is the breakdown on those commodities price changes on a year-to-date basis:

  • Eggs, up 89 percent
  • Potatoes, up 31 percent
  • Citrus, up 15 percent
  • Tomatoes, up 15 percent
  • Vegetables, down 15 percent
  • Poultry, down 6 percent
  • Pork, down 5 percent
  • Cheese, down 2 percent

Overall inflation continued to run at a 2.5 percent rate year-to-date through July, and menu prices were up 2.6 percent over the same period.

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