Foodservice Equipment Reports

NRA’s Performance Index Was Flat At 100 In October

October wasn’t a great month for restaurant operators surveyed by the National Restaurant Association, but in spite of soft sales and traffic, they are feeling a bit better about the future. As a result, the group’s Restaurant Performance Index was off a statistically insignificant 0.1 point and stands at 100, exactly the index point between expansion and contraction. The two capital expenditure markers were flat and positive respectively.

The Current Situation Index fell 0.6 point while the Expectations Index rose 0.4 point. The official report on the index noted that while same-store sales softened 0.6 point to 101.1 from the September reading, it remained above the 100 level that indicates expansion for the fourth consecutive month. Traffic took the biggest hit of the eight components tracked by the survey. It was off 1.1 point, dropping it below the tipping point to 99.8. The indicator for operators making a capital expenditure during the past three months was flat at 98.7, as 44% said they made a purchase, the same percentage as in the past three months.

In contrast, all four components of the Expectations Index rose slightly. The six-month outlook for same-store sales was up 0.3 point and that for general business condition half a point. The staffing outlook moved 0.4 point higher, pushing it ahead of the 100 tipping point for the first time since June. The marker tracking operators planning a cap-ex purchase in the next six months moved 0.3 point higher to 99.8, with 49% planning a purchase.

The increase in operator expectations in October was in line with an increase in consumer confidence in November from both the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers and The Conference Board (see related article.)

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