Restaurant operators’ outlooks for the months ahead are mixed, according to the monthly Restaurant Performance Index from the National Restaurant Association.

The RPI, a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry, slipped to 101 in July, falling from 101.3 in June. It was the second consecutive monthly decline for the index and reflected what the NRA called “a dampened outlook among restaurant operators.”

Despite the June and July dips, the RPI remained above 100 for the 17th consecutive month. An index registering above 100 indicates expansion on the key indicators measured by the survey and below 100 represents a period of contraction.

“Although restaurant operators reported positive same-store sales and customer traffic results in July, the RPI edged down as a result of a mixed outlook for the months ahead,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the NRA’s research and knowledge group.  

“Restaurant operators were less bullish about the direction of the overall economy, and rising wholesale food costs are once again starting to pose a significant challenge,” Riehle said.

VIDEO: Watch the NRA’s latest Restaurant Industry Update below.
 

The index consists of two components: the Current Situation Index and the Expectations Index. The Current Situation Index measures four key indicators, including same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures. In July, it stood at 100.7, falling 0.1 percentage point from June and represented the second consecutive monthly decline.

For the fifth consecutive month, a majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales, with 54 percent reporting a gain between July 2013 and July 2014, while 30 percent reported a decline. In June, 55 percent of operators reported higher same-store sales, while 27 percent reported lower sales.