Foodservice Equipment Reports

NRA’s Performance Index Falls Back In January

The warm winter weather must have led to an early bloom of optimism for restaurant operators. The Restaurant Performance Index maintained by the National Restaurant Association fell back in January after surging in December. Still, in spite of a 0.8 point decline in the overall index, it remains at 101.3, well above the 100 level that separates expansion from contraction and 0.7 point ahead of the November reading. Both capital expenditure measures fell at least a full point in the January survey.

After very robust gains in December, the indicators for current same-store sales and customer traffic posted declines. The same-store sales marker fell 2.1 points and that for traffic was off 1.8 points. Even the labor index was down a full point as the four-component Current Situation Index lost 1.5 points to 100.6.

In the Expectations Index, which lost 0.2 point, the outlook for future same-store sales and staffing remained positive. The measure tracking business conditions six months out fell 0.3 point.

The indicator tracking operators that made a capital expenditure in the past three months fell 1.2 points to 98.5, as 42% of those surveyed reported a purchase, the lowest level in 10 months. The marker for those planning capital spending was down a full point to 100. For the second month in a row, those planning a purchase remained at or above 50%. It’s important to remember that the RPI is not seasonally adjusted. January is typically among the months with the least spending on equipment, supplies and facilities.

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