NRA: Restaurant operators remain optimistic

After more than two years of negative numbers, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index, which measures operators’ views and expectations for the industry, remained positive in April for the second consecutive month.

The association’s most recent RPI, released late last week, stood at 100.4 in April, essentially unchanged from March’s 100.5, the NRA said. The RPI, is a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry, is based on a 100-point scale, with levels above 100 indicating industry expansion, based on key indicators, including same-store sales, guest traffic, labor, and capital expenditures.

“Although the sales and traffic indicators softened somewhat from their March performance, restaurant operators remain optimistic that business conditions will improve in the months ahead,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president for the NRA’s research and knowledge group. “In addition, restaurant operators reported a positive outlook for staffing gains, as well as continued plans for capital expenditures in the coming months.”

The RPI consists of two components, the Current Situation Index and the Expectations Index. The Current Situation Index stood at 99.0 in April – unchanged from March, and below 100 for the 32nd consecutive month. The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month industry outlook, stood at 101.8 in April, down slightly from March’s 101.9. Despite the decline, the Expectations Index stood above 100 for the fourth consecutive month.

The RPI is based on the NRA’s monthly Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey. More detailed data and analysis can be found at Restaurant TrendMapper.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]