Foodservice Equipment Reports

NRA Performance Index Bounces Back

Just when one might fear the foodservice market is heading toward a double-dip downturn, those always hungry American consumers decide to eat out more often. The Restaurant Performance Index maintained by the National Restaurant Association popped back above the 100 level that signals expansion versus contraction in September. The Index had resided below 100 for three of the past four months beginning in May and had reached its lowest level in 13 months in August. September’s 100.1 points was a 0.7 point improvement over the month prior.

Six of the eight components of the index rose in September. The only indicator that fell was that tracking operators who made a capital purchase during the past three months. It fell 0.2 point as the percentage of operator who made a purchase fell to 43% from 44% in August. The marker for future cap-ex spending rose, however. The future staffing marker was flat.

In the Current Situation Index, which rose 0.8 point overall, the indicator for same-store sales rose 0.9 point and that for traffic jumped 1.7 points. The Expectations Index was up 0.7 point, with a strong 1.2-point rise in the outlook for future business conditions. The indicator for capital spending plans in the next six months rose 0.6 point, with the percentage of operators surveyed planning a purchase rising to 47% from 44% in August.

In spite of the gains, operators are still wary about the future. Three of the four components of the Expectations Index, including that for future cap-ex spending, remain below the 100 tipping point.

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