Friday, March 30, 2012

Restaurant Performance Index increases in February

by Bill McBride on 3/30/2012 03:20:00 PM

From the National Restaurant Association: Restaurant Industry Outlook Improves as Restaurant Performance Index Stood Above 100 for 4th Consecutive Month

Bolstered by positive same-store sales and traffic results and an optimistic outlook among restaurant operators, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) remained above 100 for the fourth consecutive month 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 0.6 percent from January’s level of 101.3. In addition, the RPI stood solidly above the 100 threshold in February, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“Buoyed by continued gains in national employment and an extra day in February as a result of Leap Year, a solid majority of restaurant operators reported positive same-store sales and traffic results,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. “In addition, restaurant operators are bullish about sales growth in the months ahead, while their outlook for the economy remains cautiously optimistic.”

“Perhaps the most positive indicator is the optimistic outlook for staffing levels in the months ahead,” Riehle added. “Only seven percent of restaurant operators expect to reduce staffing levels in the next six months, the lowest level in nearly eight years.”
Restaurant Performance Index Click on graph for larger image.

The index increased to 101.9 in February from 101.3 in January (above 100 indicates expansion). This was boosted by the leap year (the index is not adjusted), but this is still positive.

The comment on employment was especially positive.

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