While operators reported that restaurant sales and customer traffic were slightly softer in April, they remained optimistic about their prospects for the coming months, according to the National Restaurant Association’s monthly Restaurant Performance Index.
The RPI, a monthly composite that tracks the health of and outlook for the restaurant industry, stood at 101.6 in April, a dip of 0.6 percent from the more robust 102.2 posted for March. Even with the decline, though, April marked the sixth consecutive month the RPI has been above 100 — signifying expansion in the index of key industry indicators.
“Although the Restaurant Performance Index dipped somewhat in April, it remained solidly in positive territory,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the NRA. “Restaurant operators reported positive same-store sales for the 11th consecutive month, and a majority of them expect business to continue to improve in the months ahead.”
Hear Riehle discuss April’s results; story continues below
The NRA’s Restaurant Performance Index consists of two components — the Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures; and the Expectations Index, which measures operators’ six-month outlook for same-store sales, employees, capital expenditures and business conditions.
The Current Situation Index was 101.0 in April, reflecting a 1-percent decrease from the March level of 102.0. Even with the dip, however, the index has remained above 100 for the sixth consecutive month, the NRA said.
The Index also found that 57 percent of operators said same-store sales rose between April 2011 and April 2012, a figure that declined from the 65 percent who reported gains in March. Meanwhile, 25 percent said same-store sales in April trended lower, reflecting an increase from the 21 percent who reported similarly in the month of March.
The Expectations Index was 102.2 in April, reflecting a slight decrease from the 15-month high of 102.4 posted in March. April marked the eighth consecutive month that the Expectations Index was above 100.
The NRA said that for the fifth consecutive month a majority of operators anticipate that their sales will rise in the future. About 52 percent of operators expect to generate higher sales in six months, compared with the same period in the previous year. Only 8 percent of foodservice operators expect that their sales volumes will decline in the next six months compared with the same period a year earlier.
The RPI is based on the responses to the NRA’s monthly tracking survey.
Contact Paul Frumkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.