Restaurant Operators Plan More Capital Investments
Mar 17, 2010
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A relatively optimistic outlook for sales and the economy nudged restaurant operators' plans for capital expenditures upward in January, according to a National Restaurant Association index of restaurant activity. 43% of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion, or remodeling in the next six months, up from 39% who reported similarly last month.

Restaurant operators gained confidence about future economic and business conditions in the first month of 2010, according to the National Restaurant Association’s comprehensive index of restaurant activity.

“Although the current situation indicators remained soft in January, the Expectations Index rose above 100 for the first time in 9 months,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association. “Restaurant operators are relatively optimistic about improving sales growth and economic conditions in the months ahead, and their capital spending plans rose to the highest level in five months.”

Softening sales and traffic in January took the Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) down slightly from December’s 22-month high. The RPI – a composite index tracking the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – was 98.3 in January, down 0.3% from December.

Restaurant's capital spending held relatively steady in recent months, and 32% of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion, or remodeling in the past three months, roughly on par with the levels reported by operators in the previous two months.

A relatively optimistic outlook for sales and the economy nudged operators’ plans for capital expenditures upward in January. 43% of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion, or remodeling in the next six months, up from 39% who reported similarly last month.

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