Foodservice Equipment Reports

NRA’s Performance Index Ticks Downward, But Cap-Ex Indicators Jump

Given that the September survey for the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index was conducted during the partial federal-government shutdown and debt-ceiling fight, the slight decline of the overall RPI is really quite remarkable. While same-store sales and traffic were off sharply and operator confidence about the future also declined, the overall index registered only a 0.3 point decline to 100.2. The index remained above the 100 level that separates expansion from contraction for the seventh consecutive month. And the two indicators tracking capital spending posted strong gains.

The four-component Current Situation Index was off 0.7 point and dropped to 99.9. Same-store sales and traffic both posted 1.8 point declines, following strong increases in August. The labor component was flat.

The four-component Expectations Index ticked up 0.1 point. While the outlook for future business conditions dropped a full point to 99.1—hardly surprising given the government shutdown—the indicator for same-store sales six months out was flat, and the staffing outlook rose 0.2 point.

Both cap-ex measures were positive. The marker tracking operators that made an equipment or other capital purchase during the past three months rose 0.7 point. That tracking plans to make such a purchase during the next six months jumped 1.4 points. The percentage of operators who made a buy rose to 57%; 52% of those surveyed expect to make a capital buy during the next six months.

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