Restaurant Sales and Customer Traffic Continued to Rise According to April Restaurant Performance Index

May 30, 2014
Fueled by improving same-store sales and customer traffic and a positive outlook among restaurant operators, the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) rose for the second straight month.  The RPI stood at 101.7 in April, up 0.3 percent from March and the strongest level since May 2013.

"The recent rise in the RPI was fueled by improvements in same-store sales and customer traffic, which are back on a positive trajectory after the winter soft patch," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association.  "In addition, restaurant operators have an optimistic outlook for business conditions in the months ahead, which is reflected by the expectations component of the RPI rising to its highest level in two years."

The RPI consists of two components - the Current Situation Index (measuring current trends) and the Expectations Index (measuring restaurant operators' six-month outlook) - and tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry.

The Current Situation Index stood at 101.3 in April - up 0.5 percent from a level of 100.8 in March.  In addition, April represented the second consecutive month that the Current Situation Index stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the current situation indicators.

For the second straight month, a majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales.  Fifty-one percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between April 2013 and April 2014, while 26 percent reported a sales decline. Restaurant operators reported a net gain in customer traffic levels for the second straight month, after registering declines in the previous three months.

The Expectations Index stood at 102.2 in April - up 0.2 percent from March and the strongest level in two years.  In addition, April represented the 18th consecutive month in which the Expectations Index stood above 100, which indicates that restaurant operators are optimistic about business conditions in the coming months.