NRA’s Performance Index Surged In March
Thanks to huge improvement in the indicators tracking current same-store sales, traffic, and labor trends, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index rose 1.1 points in March to 101.8, its highest mark since February 2016. All eight of the RPI’s components are now in expansion territory for the first time since November 2015. Any value above 100 in the RPI signals expansion, while values below 100 indicate contraction. The trend of the two capital spending markers was mixed, though both remained quite positive.
The four-component Current Situation Index jumped 2.7 points in March, entering positive territory after wallowing below the 100 tipping point for six months. The measure for same-store sales versus March a year ago surged 4.5 points, the traffic indicator gained 3.3 points, and the labor component, which tracks employee counts and hours worked, rose 2.1 point.
The Expectations Index, which also has four components, softened, though at 102.2 remained very positive. The six-month outlooks for same-store sales and staffing rose 0.2 and 0.3 point respectively. But the indicator that tracks the general business outlook in six months fell 1.1 points to 101.5.
The RPI component tracking operator capital spending during the past three months rose 0.8 point in March to a very healthy 102.6. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed reported a capital buy. That component had almost slipped into contraction territory at 100.1 in January before bouncing back to 101.7 in February. The marker that follows plans to make a capital purchase during the next six months fell 0.8 point, but remained well above the tipping point at 101.5, with 62% planning on making such a purchase.
The complete RPI report can be found here.