Monday, December 01, 2014

Restaurant Performance Index increased in October

by Bill McBride on 12/01/2014 04:57:00 PM

Here is a minor indicator I follow from the National Restaurant Association: Restaurant Performance Index Registered Gain in October

Driven by stronger sales and traffic and a more optimistic outlook among restaurant operators, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) posted a solid gain in October. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 102.8 in October, up 1.8 percent from its September level. In addition, the RPI stood above 100 for the 20th consecutive month, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“The positive same-store sales and customer traffic results suggest that restaurants are the beneficiaries of falling gas prices, which were down $0.88 since the end of June,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. “Elevated food costs continue to top the list of challenges reported by restaurant operators, but overall they remain generally optimistic that business conditions will improve in the months ahead.”
emphasis added
Restaurant Performance Index Click on graph for larger image.

The index increased to 102.8 in October, up from 101.0 in September. (above 100 indicates expansion).

Restaurant spending is discretionary, so even though this is "D-list" data, I like to check it every month. This is a strong reading - and as Riehle noted - it appears restaurants are benefiting from lower gasoline prices.