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FE&SFlashNews — 2004-11-01 — News

November 1, 2004

Restaurant Performance Index Up In September

The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index reported an increase of 0.1%, to 102.8 in September, compared to August. This marks the first time the RPI has increased in seven months.

The RPI is a monthly study of the health of the U.S. restaurant industry based upon a survey of foodservice operators. It consists of two portions: the Current Situation Index and the Expectations Index.

The September increase in the RIP is attributable to growth in the Current Situation Index, which rose by 0.7% to 103.7 during the month.

Much of that gain is attributable to reported stronger same-store sales in September vs. August. According to the study, 53% of respondents reported higher same-store sales in September compared to the same period last year, while 30% said that their same-store sales declined. In August, those numbers were 45% and 38%, respectively.

Similarly, those operators participating in the survey reported improved customer traffic during the month. Roughly 40% of respondents reported an increase in customer traffic in September 2004 compared to September 2003, up from 34% in August, while 36% said their customer traffic declined, down from 43% the prior month.

While the Current Situation Index increased during September, much of this growth was offset by a decline in the RPI’s Expectations Index.

The Expectations Index fell by 0.5% in September compared to August, with six-month outlooks on same-store sales, staffing and capital expenditures all declining.

According to the report, 58% of operators expect their sales volume in six months to be higher than the same period a year earlier, down by 1% compared to the previous month's findings. Approximately 12% of respondents, however, anticipate lower sales volume, an increase of 3% vs. the month prior.

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