Restaurant Performance Index held relatively steady in February

As a result of widely divergent trends in the current situation and forward-looking indicators, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) was essentially unchanged in February. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 101.9 in February, up 0.1 percent from a level of 101.8 in January. 

The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators, stood at 103.0 in February – up 1.3 percent from January and the second consecutive strong monthly gain. A majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales and customer traffic in both January and February, which propelled the Current Situation Index to its highest level in nearly five years. 

In contrast, restaurant operators’ outlook for business conditions deteriorated sharply, as the March survey period coincided with the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for four industry indicators, fell 1.1 percent to a level of 100.8. The sharpest deterioration was seen in restaurant operators’ outlook for the overall economy, which registered its widest net negative reading since 2008 

Read the full RPI report.

RPI Methodology

The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) is a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and the outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry. Launched in 2002, the RPI is released on the last business day of each month.

The RPI is measured in relation to a neutral level of 100. Index values above 100 indicate that key industry indicators are in a period of expansion, while index values below 100 represent a period of contraction for key industry indicators. The Index consists of two components — the Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), and the Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for four industry indicators (same-store sales, employees, capital expenditures and business conditions).

The RPI is based on the responses to the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey, which is fielded monthly among restaurant operators nationwide on a variety of indicators including sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures. Restaurant operators interested in participating in the tracking survey: contact Bruce Grindy.

For more detailed analysis of the RPI and Industry Tracking Survey data, see Restaurant TrendMapper.

Updated 3/31/2020