WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 29, 2012/PRNewswire via COMTEX) -- The outlook for the restaurant industry remained positive for the months ahead, as the May National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) remained above 100 for the seventh consecutive month. The RPI stood at 101.4 for the month, down 0.2 percent from April's level of 101.6. Any level above 100 signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators, according to the NRA.
"Despite a soft patch in the overall economy, restaurant operators reported positive same-store sales for the 12th consecutive month," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. "Looking forward, restaurant operators remain generally optimistic about sales growth in the months ahead, though they are somewhat less bullish about the direction of the economy."
The RPI measures the Current Situation Index and the Expectations Index. The Current Situation Index, which tracks trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 100.8 in May, down 0.2 percent from April's level of 101.0. 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 102.0 in May, down slightly from April's level of 102.2. May represented the ninth consecutive month that the Expectations Index stood above 100, which signifies a positive outlook among restaurant operators for business conditions in the coming months.
Restaurant operators are generally optimistic that their sales levels will improve in the months ahead. Forty-eight percent expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), down slightly from 52 percent who reported similarly last month. In comparison, only 8 percent expect their sales volume in six months to be lower than it was during the same period in the previous year, unchanged from last month.
Operators are somewhat less bullish about the direction of the overall economy. Thirty-six percent said they expect economic conditions to improve in six months, up slightly from 34 percent last month. However, 19 percent said they expect economic conditions to worsen in the next six months, up from 10 percent last month and the highest proportion in seven months.