Driven by solid same-store sales and traffic results and an increasingly bullish outlook among restaurant operators, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) matched its post-recession high in March. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 102.2 in March, up 0.3 percent from February and equaling its post-recession high that was previously reached in December 2011.Click on graph for larger image.
“The first quarter finished strong with a solid majority of restaurant operators reporting higher same-store sales and customer traffic levels in March,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. “In addition, restaurant operators are solidly optimistic about sales growth and the economy in the months ahead, which propelled the Expectations component of the RPI to its highest level in 15 months.”
“Bolstered by improving sales and traffic results, restaurant operators’ outlook for capital spending reached its highest level in more than four years,” Riehle added. “This will have positive implications throughout the supply chain of the restaurant industry.”
The index increased to 102.2 in March, up from 101.9 in February (above 100 indicates expansion).
Restaurant spending is discretionary, so even though this is "D-list" data, I like to check it every month - and the index was fairly strong in March.