Foodservice Equipment Reports

Despite Government Shutdown, NRA’s RPI Rose In October

Go figure. In spite of the partial shutdown of the federal government for half of October and the threat of a debt-ceiling default, consumers apparently thumbed their noses and went out to eat anyway. Strong gains in current same-store sales and traffic propelled the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index to 100.9, up from 100.2 in September. It was the highest level for the overall index in the past four months. Values greater than 100 signify expansion, while those below 100 show contraction. The index has been above 100 for eight consecutive months.

Operators also felt better about sales and business conditions over the next six months. The two capital spending measures were essentially flat after posting strong gains in September.

Hudson Riehle, senior v.p. of NRA’s Research and Knowledge Group, noted the gains were driven by “broad-based gains in the index components.” He added, “Looking forward, restaurant operators are relatively optimistic about sales growth in the months ahead, though their outlook for the overall economy remains mixed.” The marker for future business conditions improved by a full point but stands just inside expansion territory at 100.1.

Capital spending activity and plans remain quite positive, according to the October survey. The indicator tracking operators who made a capital buy in the past three months held steady at 101.4, with 57% noting such a purchase, even with September. The marker for cap ex during the next six months rose slightly to 100.6, with 52% noting plans to buy vs. 45% in September.

The complete RPI report and press release are available at

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