Foodservice Equipment Reports

Tough Winter Depresses NRA’s January Performance Index

As if rising fuel and food costs weren’t enough for foodservice operators, the extreme winter weather has also taken a toll. Same-store sales and traffic fell sharply in the January Restaurant Performance Index maintained by the National Restaurant Association. The overall index fell 0.8 point to end at 100.2, still above the 100 tipping point that separates expansion from contraction. It was the fourth reading in the last five months above 100.

All eight components of the index were negative or flat. The Current Situation Index lost 1.1 points, with current same-store sales and customer traffic both off 1.8 points. The labor situation indicator was down 0.5 point. The marker tracking operators that made a capital purchase during the past three months fell 0.3 point, with 39% of operators reporting such a purchase, down slightly from the past two months.

The Expectations Index was off a more moderate 0.5 point and ended at 101.8, well above the tipping point. Expected same-store sales dropped 1.1 points while expected business conditions half a point. The future staffing indicator was flat. The marker for those who expect to make a capital purchase during the next six month fell 0.3 point, with 48% planning a purchase, down a bit from December.

With continuing tough weather in February, and the steep jump in gasoline prices during the month, it seems likely the index will fall again.