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Restaurant Performance Index May Indicate Stronger Foodservice Equipment Spending
Oct 31, 2011
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With better same-store sales and traffic levels, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) topped the 100 mark in September for the first time in three months, and showed stronger indications of investment in foodservice equipment and other capital spending.

Operators continued reporting relatively steady current levels of capital spending, with 43% saying in September that they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion, or remodeling in the last three months, almost unchanged from 44% who said so in August.

Operators’ outlook for capital spending over the next 6 months has improved in recent reports. In September 47% of restaurant operators said they plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion, or remodeling in the next six months, up from the 44% who reported similarly in August.

The RPI, a composite index of the U.S. restaurant industry, rose to 100.1 in September, which is up 0.7% from August and puts the index at its highest level since June. An RPI of 100 signifies expansion in the index of industry indicators. September was the first time in three months that the index was above 100. The increase came from improvements in same-store sales and customer traffic indicators.

"Among the forward-looking indicators, restaurant operators are more optimistic about sales growth in the months ahead, while their outlook for the overall economy remains cloudy,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the association.

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