Softer same-store sales and customer traffic levels brought the Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) down to 99.9 in February 2013, down from January's five-month high, according to the National Restaurant Association.
February was the fourth month out of the last five with an RPI below 100, indicating contraction in key industry indicators.
Capital spending by restaurant operators was down as well, with 48% of operators saying they made capital expenditures for commercial appliances/commercial foodservice equipment, or for expansion or remodeling during the last three months. In the January 2013 report the level was 52% of operators.
"Despite the sales and traffic declines in February, restaurant operators remain generally optimistic about business conditions in the months ahead, which suggests they feel the setbacks will be temporary," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association.
57% of restaurant operators in the February 2013 plan capital spending for equipment or remodeling in the next six months. In the January report, the level was 59%.
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