Meat demand took a positive turn heading into the holiday season according to information released by the National Restaurant Association on the health and outlook of the U.S. restaurant industry. The Restaurant Performance Index made moderate gain in October – jumping 0.7% driven by strong same-store sales and a more optimistic outlook among restaurant operators. For 32 months in a row the index was above 100 with the October RPI at 102, signaling a period of expansion for the restaurant industry.
“The October gain in the RPI was buoyed by broad-based improvements in the current situation indicators,” says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. “In addition, restaurant operators are somewhat more optimistic about both sales growth and the economy in the months ahead.”
The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 102.5 in October – up 1.2% from September and the highest level in three months. A majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales for 20 consecutive months with October’s results representing the strongest performance since July. While sales levels improved in October, the customer traffic results were similar to the August and September readings.
The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for four industry indicators (same-store sales, employees, capital expenditures and business conditions), stood at 101.6 in October – up slightly from a level of 101.4 in September.
Restaurant operators reversed a downward trending sales outlook with somewhat more optimistic expectations. Forty percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), up from 35% who reported similarly last month. Similarly, restaurant operators are somewhat more optimistic about the direction of the overall economy with 19% of restaurant operators saying they expect economic conditions to improve in six months.
The full report can be found on the National Restaurant Association website.