WASHINGTON - The outlook for the restaurant industry remained positive for the months ahead, as the National Restaurant Association€™s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) remained above 100 in May. The RPI stood at 101.4 in May, down 0.2% from April's level of 101.6. Despite the decline, May represented the seventh consecutive month that the RPI stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.
"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."
Restaurant operators reported positive same-store sales for the 12th consecutive month in May, with sales results similar to their April performance. Sixty-one percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between May 2011 and May 2012, up from 57% who reported a sales gain in April. Meanwhile, 28% of operators reported lower same-store sales in May, up from 25% who reported similarly in April.
Restaurant operators are generally optimistic that their sales levels will improve in the months ahead. Forty-eight percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), down slightly from 52% who reported similarly last month. In comparison, only 8% of restaurant operators 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.
Restaurant operators are somewhat less bullish about the direction of the overall economy. Thirty-six percent of restaurant operators said they expect economic conditions to improve in six months, up slightly from 34% last month. However, 19% of operators said they expect economic conditions to worsen in the next six months, up from 10% last month and the highest proportion in seven months.