• Home
    Home We Serve America's Restaurants Representing nearly 500,000 restaurant businesses, we advocate for restaurant and foodservice industry interests and provide tools and systems that help members of all sizes achieve success.
  • Foundation
    Foundation Building & Retaining Talent The NRAEF is focused on developing a stronger workforce and building the next generation of industry leaders through education, scholarships and community engagement.
  • Show
    Show May 18-21, 2019 As the international foodservice marketplace, the National Restaurant Association Show provides unparalleled opportunities for buyers and sellers to come together, conduct business and learn from each other.
  • ServSafe
    ServSafe Minimize Risk. Maximize Protection. For over 40 years, ServSafe® training programs have delivered the knowledge, leadership and protection that have earned the trust and confidence of business leaders everywhere.

National Restaurant Association - Sales, traffic results mixed in March

Skip to navigation Skip to content

News & Research

News RSS

Sales, traffic results mixed in March

Although same-store sales and customer traffic results were mixed, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) remained in the expansion zone above 100 in March. The RPI stood at 100.7 in March, down 1.4 percent from February’s Leap-Year-bolstered level of 102.1.

"With the exception of February which was bolstered by Leap Year, the RPI told a generally consistent story in recent months," said the National Restaurant Association's Chief Economist Bruce Grindy.  

"Same-store sales and customer traffic readings were a mixed bag, while restaurant operators remained cautiously optimistic about business conditions in the months ahead.  Barring any external shocks, this likely points toward the continuation of a moderate business environment during the remainder of 2016," Grindy said.

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 100.2 in March – down 2.6 percent from February when readings were buoyed by the extra day as a result of Leap Year. Despite the decline, the Current Situation index stood above 100 in March, which signifies expansion in the current situation indicators.

Same-store sales reverted back to levels seen during the previous three months after the Leap Day boost. Forty-six percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between March 2015 and March 2016, while 38 percent reported a sales decline. Similarly, customer traffic flipped negative in March, following February’s positive results. Only 26 percent of restaurant operators reported an increase in customer traffic between March 2015 and March 2016, while 46 percent reported a traffic decline.

The Expectations Index stood at 101.2 in March – down 0.2 percent from a level of 101.4 in February. Despite the modest decline, March represented the 41st consecutive month in which the Expectations Index stood above 100, which indicates restaurant operators remain generally optimistic about business conditions in the months ahead.

Thirty-eight percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), down from 46 percent who reported similarly last month. Only 13 percent of restaurant operators expect their sales volume in six months to be lower. In contrast, restaurant operators remain comparatively pessimistic about the direction of the overall economy. Only 15 percent of restaurant operators said they expect economic conditions to improve in six months, while 22 percent expect conditions to worsen.

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

Conserve RSS Healthcare RSS Conserve RSS

▲ Back to Top

We're glad you're here!®

® 2012-2017 National Restaurant Association. All rights reserved.

2055 L St. NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036
(202) 331-5900 | (800) 424-5156