Restaurateurs are in a chipper mood these days, with the majority reporting customer and revenue gains; they also plan expansion, remodeling or equipment purchases.
The Restaurant Performance Index from the National Restaurant Assn. hit the same post-recession high in March that it did in December. The 102.2 level – a 0.3% increase from February – signals expansion in the industry, as the index has done for the last five months.
The restaurant association found that same-store sales improved in March compared to the prior year for 65% of restaurant operators. In February, 63% said the same.
More than half of restaurants enjoyed higher customer traffic levels in March. And 48% of operators said they spent money for equipment as well as on expansion and remodeling over the quarter – the highest level since before the recession.
They're also looking forward to the next six months more than they have in more than a year. The expectations index showed positive outlook in the industry for the seventh straight month.
More than half of restaurateurs said they expect higher sales in the next half-year. In the highest percentage in more than four years, 56% of operators said they anticipate making capital expenditures.
Watch Hudson Riehle, a researcher with the restaurant association, discuss the report below: