Same-store sales bump up restaurant index

by Jeff Gelski
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In April, 55 percent of restaurant operators reported an increase in customer traffic between April 2014 and April 2015.

WASHINGTON – The Restaurant Performance Index stood at 102.7 in April, up from 102.2 in March, as 71 percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between April 2014 and April 2015.

“While individual indicators experienced some choppiness in recent months, the overall RPI stood above the 102 level for seven consecutive months,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the research and knowledge group for the Washington-based National Restaurant Association. “This was driven by consistent majorities of restaurant operators reporting positive same-store sales as well as an optimistic outlook for sales growth in the months ahead.”

The Restaurant Performance Index, a monthly composite index that tracks the health and outlook for the US restaurant industry, consists of two components. The Current Situation Index measures the four industry indicators of same-store sales, customer traffic, labor and capital expenditures. The Expectations Index measures the six-month outlook for the four industry indicators of same-store sales, employees, capital expenditures and business conditions.

The Current Situation Index jumped to 102.9 in April from 101.9 in March. The 71 percent of restaurant operators reporting a same-store sales gain was up from 62 percent in March. Also, 13 percent of operators reported a same-store sales decline in April compared to 24 percent in March.

In April, 55 percent of restaurant operators reported an increase in customer traffic between April 2014 and April 2015, which compared with 45 percent in March. Twenty-five percent of operators said traffic declined in April, down 34 percent from March. Fifty-six percent of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months.

The Expectations Index dipped to 102.5 in April from 102.6 in March. The percentage of restaurant operators expecting to have higher sales in six months when compared with the same period in the previous year fell to 52 percent in April from 59 percent in March. In April, 6 percent of operators said they expect their sales volume in six months to be lower, which compared to 3 percent in March.

When asked whether they expect economic conditions to improve in six months, 28 percent of operators said yes in April, which compared with 35 percent in March. In April, 13 percent said they expect conditions to worsen, and 59 percent said they expect conditions in six months to be about the same. In April, 59 percent of operators said they plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months, which compared with 53 percent in March.

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