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National Restaurant Association - RPI rises to 10-month high in March

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RPI rises to 10-month high in March

Driven by stronger same-store sales and customer traffic and a more optimistic outlook among restaurant operators, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) rose to a 10-month high in March. 

The RPI stood at 101.4 in March, up 0.9 percent from February’s level of 100.5.  In addition, the RPI remained above 100 for the 13th consecutive month, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“The solid March increase in the RPI was fueled by stronger sales and traffic levels, which bounced back from the weather-challenged results in recent months,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. 

“Looking forward, restaurant operators are increasingly optimistic about sales gains, and a majority plan to make capital expenditure in the next six months,” he added.

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 100.8 in March – up 1.5 percent from February’s level of 99.3.  In addition, March represented the first time in four months that the Current Situation Index stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the current situation indicators.

For the first time in four months, a majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales. Fifty-five percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between March 2013 and March 2014, up from 44 percent who reported higher sales in February. Restaurant operators also reported stronger customer traffic levels in March.

The Expectations Index stood at 102.0 in March – up 0.3 percent from February and the strongest level in nine months.  In addition, March represented the 17th consecutive month in which the Expectations Index stood above 100, which indicates that restaurant operators remain optimistic about business conditions in the months ahead.

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

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