Improving sales and traffic levels, along with growing optimism among restaurant operators, pushed the National Restaurant Association’s index of restaurant activity up sharply in March. The association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) stood at 100.5 in March, up 1.4% from February and its strongest level since September 2007. In addition, the RPI rose above 100 for the first time in 29 months, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.
“The RPI’s solid performance in March was driven by improvements among both the current-situation and forward-looking indicators,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. “Restaurant operators reported net gains in both same-store sales and customer traffic in March, the first time in 31 months that both indicators stood in positive territory.”
Restaurant operators also reported a moderate uptick in capital spending:
• 36% of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion, or remodeling during the last three months, up from 30% last month and the highest level in five months.
• 47% of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion, or remodeling in the next six months, compared with 48% who reported similarly last month.
to Daily News