Commercial Foodservice Equipment Spending Holds Steady as Restaurant Performance Index Rises
Jan 2, 2012
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Positive same-store sales and a more optimistic outlook among restaurant operators helped push the Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) to a five-month high in November 2011, according to the National Restaurant Association. This optimism is helping hold steady current capital spending and future plans for capital spending on new commercial appliances, as well as remodeling and expansion.

The RPI was 100.6 in November, up 0.6% from October and the second month out of the last three months that the RPI was above 100, signifying expansion in key index indicators.

“The November increase in the Restaurant Performance Index was fueled by broad-based gains in 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 their strongest net positive same-store sales results in more than four years, while customer traffic levels also grew in November.”

The Current Situation Index – measuring current trends same-store sales, traffic, labor, and capital expenditures) – was 100.2 in November, up 0.8% from 99.5 in October.

Restaurant operators reported positive same-store sales for the sixth consecutive month in November. Operators also reported better customer traffic.

In November 46% of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion, or remodeling during the last three months - the highest level in five months.

The Expectations Index – measuring operators’ six-month outlook for same-store sales, employees, capital expenditures and business conditions – was 100.9 in November, up 0.4% from October and the third consecutive monthly gain.

Operators showed more optimism about sales growth in the months ahead and are "somewhat more bullish" about the overall economy in the coming months.

Operators’ outlook for capital spending in the next six months remains positive. 47% of operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion, or remodeling, essentially unchanged from the levels reported in the previous two months.

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