Restaurant operators continued to report sales and traffic declines, but are cautiously optimistic about improving sales and business conditions in the months ahead.
The outlook for the restaurant industry remained cloudy in November, as the National Restaurant Association’s comprehensive index of restaurant activity registered its third decline in the last four months. The Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 97.8 in November, down 0.2 percent from its October level. In addition, the RPI remained below 100 for the 25th consecutive month, which signifies contraction in the index of key industry indicators.
“Although the RPI remained below 100 for the 25th consecutive month, which signals contraction, restaurant operators are cautiously optimistic that conditions will improve in the months ahead,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. “Restaurant operators reported a positive six-month sales outlook for the first time in three months, and remained optimistic that the economy will improve during the next six months.”
Thirty-one percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), up slightly from 29 percent who reported similarly last month. In comparison, 24 percent of restaurant operators expect their sales volume in six months to be lower than it was during the same period in the previous year, down from 29 percent who reported similarly last month.
Restaurant operators also remained cautiously optimistic about the direction of the economy. Twenty-seven percent of restaurant operators said they expect economic conditions to improve in six months, while 19 percent expect economic conditions to worsen during the next six months. Last month, 30 percent of operators said they expected the economy to improve in six months, while 20 percent expected economic conditions to deteriorate.
source: www.restaurant.org press release