Foodservice Equipment Reports

NRA’s Performance Index Pops Back In March

Led by strong rebounds in same-store sales and traffic, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index gained nearly a full point in March to reach 101.4, the highest level in 10 months. It was the 13th consecutive month the index has stood above 100, the tipping point that signals expansion vs. contraction. One capital-spending indicator posted a strong increase; the other was flat.

The four-component Current Situation Index rose 1.5 points in March to 100.8, its first reading above 100 since last November. The marker for current same-store sales was up 1.5 points while that for customer traffic jumped 2.1 points as customers returned to restaurants following several months of inclement winter weather. The labor index was up 1.3 points.

The Expectations Index, also with four components, rose 0.3 point to 102. Operators are very optimistic about same-store sales six months from now, pushing up that market to 104.3, a 1.4 point gain. The future staffing index fell 0.3 point while the six-month outlook for general business condition rose only 0.1 point.

With improved weather, operators also returned to the equipment market. The indicator tracking capital spending during the past three months rose 1.1 point in March, as 49% of those responding said they made a capital buy, up from 44% in February. The marker for capital buying the next six months was flat, remaining at 101.7; 58% of operators plan such a purchase, the same percentage as February.

The complete RPI report is available on NRA’s website at  

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