NRA’s December Performance Index Slips A Bit

The National Restaurant Association’s monthly Restaurant Performance Index fell 0.2 point in the December reading as Current Situation indicators, including that for recent capital spending, softened. But the survey, conducted in January, found the overall index remained well into expansion territory at 101.6.

Despite the decline, December represented the 11th consecutive month in which the Current Situation Index was in expansion territory above the 100 level. (The tipping point between expansion and contraction is 100 for all the indexes and components.)

The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for four industry indicators, stood at 101.4 in December, unchanged from its November level. 

A majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales for the third consecutive month, with December’s results coming in similar to November. Sixty percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales increase between December 2017 and December 2018, compared to 61% who reported higher sales in November.

In contrast, restaurant operators’ outlook for the overall economy is a mixed bag. For the fourth consecutive month, fewer than one in four operators had a positive outlook on economic conditions for the next six months. Operators continue to plan for capital spending in the months ahead. Sixty percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months, up slightly from 59% in November.

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