Restaurant Performance Index increased 1.0% in February

Driven by a more optimistic outlook among restaurant operators, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) posted a healthy gain in February. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 100.1 in February, up 1.0% from a level of 99.1 in January. 

Although the RPI topped 100 for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, it does not signal a recovery for the restaurant industry, as current situation indicators like same-store sales and customer traffic remain firmly entrenched in contraction territory. Still, the growing operator optimism reflected in the expectations index means the trendline is pointing in a positive direction. 

The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators, stood at 95.4 in February – down 0.6% from a level of 96.0 in January. February represented the 12th consecutive month in which the Current Situation Index was below 100, with a strong majority of operators continuing to report lower same-store sales and traffic.

The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for four industry indicators, stood at 104.8 – up 2.6% from the previous month. Fully seven in 10 restaurant operators expect economic conditions to improve in the next six months, which represented the highest reading in the 19-year history of the RPI          

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 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 3/31/2021