Sales and traffic in U.S. restaurants improved in November 2012, but restaurant operators still reported a dip in capital spending. 37% of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion, or remodeling in the last three months, reaching its lowest level in 32 months.
With the fiscal cliff looming, restaurant operators pulled back in capital spending plans for next six months. 45% of operators plan to make a capital expenditure for commercial appliances or other expenses in the next six months, down from 50% who said so in October.
Positive same-store sales and customer traffic results pushed the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) higher in November 2012, but not enough to get it over the 100 mark. The RPI, a measure of the health of the restaurant industry in the United States, was 99.9 in November, up 0.5% from October.
"The November gain in the RPI was driven by improving same-store sales and customer traffic levels, both of which registered their strongest performance in three months," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the association. "However, restaurant operators remain concerned about the direction of the overall economy, due in large part to the uncertainty around the fiscal cliff."
to Daily News