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National Restaurant Association - Restaurant Performance Index reaches six-year high

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Restaurant Performance Index reaches six-year high

Fueled by solid same-store sales and traffic results and a bullish outlook among restaurant operators, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) rose sharply in December. 

RPI_Dec2011.jpgThe RPI stood at 102.2 in December, up 1.6 percent from November and its highest level in nearly six years.  In addition, December represented the third time in the last four months that the RPI stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“Aided by favorable weather conditions in many parts of the country, a solid majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales and customer traffic levels in December,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association.  “In addition, restaurant operators are solidly optimistic about sales growth in the months ahead, and their outlook for the economy is at its strongest point in nearly a year.”

“Coupled with the solid November results, the RPI’s impressive December performance bodes well for continued positive industry momentum in the year ahead,” Riehle added.  “The ripple effect will likely be felt throughout the supply chain as well, with restaurant operators’ plans for capital spending rising to its highest level in more than four years.”

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 102.1 in December – up a solid 1.9 percent from November and its strongest level in seven years.  December also represented the third time in the last four months that the Current Situation Index stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the current situation indicators. 

Building on a solid November performance, operators reported even stronger same-store sales and customer traffic levels. In addition to positive sales and traffic levels, capital spending activity among restaurant operators continues to trend upward. 

The Expectations Index stood at 102.3 in December – up 1.3 percent from November and its highest level in a year. In addition, December marked the fourth consecutive month that the Expectations Index stood above 100, which represents a positive outlook among restaurant operators for business conditions in the months ahead.      

With higher sales and an improving economy expected in the months ahead, restaurant operators are also beefing up plans for capital spending.  Fifty-five percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months, up from 47 percent last month and the strongest level in more than four years.

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

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