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Restaurant Performance Index at Post-Recession High
May 2, 2012
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Commercial appliance and foodservice equipment appear to be getting a boost from strong performance by the restaurants in the United States.

"Bolstered by improving sales and traffic results, restaurant operators' outlook for capital spending reached its highest level in more than four years," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association. "This will have positive implications throughout the supply chain of the restaurant industry."

Sales, traffic, and an increasingly bullish outlook among restaurant operators helped push up the association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) in March 2012.

Restaurant operators continued to report solid capital spending, and 48% of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion, or remodeling in the last three months - tied for the highest level reported since before the recession.

Operators are also boosting capital spending plans, with 56% of restaurant operators planning to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion, or remodeling in the next six months, up from 49% in February 2012 - and the strongest level in more than four years.

The overall RPI matched its post-recession high in March 2012. The RPI - a composite index of the U.S. restaurant industry - was 102.2 in March, up 0.3% from February and at the same level as its post-recession high in December 2011.

Perhaps more importantly, the RPI has now been above 100 for five months, signifying expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

"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," Riehle said.

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