Index Drops To 101.2, But Expansion Continues

Due in large part to softer same-store sales and customer traffic levels, the NRA’s Restaurant Performance Index fell 0.4 point from December to stand at 101.2 in January.

Although the Expectations Index remains above 100, its recent levels suggest some continued uncertainty among restaurant operators about business conditions in the months ahead.

A small majority of operators—52%–reported higher same-store sales in January of this year compared to January 2018, but the results were less impressive than in December ‘18, when 60% saw higher year-over-year sales. According to the NRA, 47% of all operators anticipate their sales to increase in the next six months, while only 10% foresee their sales volume to decline in six months compared to the year before.

After three consecutive months in which operators reported a new increase in traffic, business reports were split in January. While 37% of operators saw an increase in customer traffic from January ‘18 to January ‘19, the same percentage saw a decrease over the same period.

Operators are continuing to invest in their restaurants, with 55% confirming they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion, or remodeling during the last three months. Further, 57% of respondents said they expect to make a capital expenditure in the next six months—down from 60% in December.

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