RPI dips in July on mixed outlook

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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Forty-one percent of foodservice operators reported an increase in customer traffic levels, while 30 percent of foodservice operators reported higher same-store sales.

WASHINGTON – The Restaurant Performance Index for July slipped to 101.0 from 101.3 reported in June, the National Restaurant Association reported. The NRA attributed the modest decline to a dampened outlook among foodservice operators.

“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 Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. “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.”

Foodservice operators reported higher same-store sales for the fifth consecutive month. Fifty-four percent of foodservice operators reported a same-store sales gain between July 2013 and July 2014, while 30 percent reported a sales decline, the NRA noted.

Operators remain generally optimistic about future sales growth with 47 percent of foodservice operators saying they expect to have higher sales in six months, up from 44 percent who reported similarly the previous month. Thirteen percent of foodservice operators expect their sales volumes to be lower.

Customer traffic results also were positive — 41 percent of foodservice operators reported an increase in customer traffic levels between July 2013 and July 2014. Thirty-percent of foodservice operators reported higher same-store sales.

The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures, eased to 100.7 in July, down 0.1 percent from June and the second consecutive monthly decline.

The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for same-store sales, employees, capital expenditures and business conditions, was 101.2 in July compared to 101.7 in June and the second consecutive monthly decline.

The industry's outlook for the general economy was mixed, according to the NRA. Twenty-five percent of foodservice operators said they expect economic conditions to improve in six months, while 19 percent expect the economy to worsen. The remaining 56 percent expect economic conditions in six months to remain about the same.

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