Restaurant Performance Index remains in contraction territory

The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) registered a moderate gain in July. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 97.1 in July, which was up 0.7 percent from June and represented the highest level since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March. 

July’s RPI increase was driven by better same-store sales and customer traffic readings, as both indicators continued their gradual improvements from April’s record lows. However, most restaurant operators do not expect a rapid return to normal, and they remain mixed on the direction of the overall economy. 

The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators, stood at 96.2 in July – up 1.4 percent from a level of 94.8 in June. July represented the third consecutive increase in the Current Situation Index, after it fell to a record low in April.

The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for four industry indicators, stood at 98.0 – unchanged from last month. This reflects continued uncertainty among restaurant operators, as only one in five expect their sales or staffing levels to return to pre-coronavirus levels within the next six months.    

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 8/31/2020