U.S. restaurant customer traffic levels dip in June

August 4, 2014

Due in large part to softer customer traffic levels, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) registered a moderate decline in June. The RPI—a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry—stood at 101.3 in June, down from a level of 102.1 in May and the first decline in four months. Despite the drop, the RPI remained above 100 for the 16th consecutive month, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“Although overall same-store sales remained positive in June, the RPI dipped as a result of softer customer traffic levels,” said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. “Looking forward, restaurant operators are generally optimistic about sales growth in the months ahead, and their outlook for capital spending remains near post-recession highs.”

For the fourth consecutive month, a majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales, though overall results were softer than the May performance. Fifty-five percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between June 2013 and June 2014, down from 65% who reported similarly in May. In comparison, 27% of operators reported a same-store sales decline in June, up from 19% who reported similarly in May.

Restaurant operators also reported softer customer traffic results in June. Thirty-nine percent of restaurant operators reported an increase in customer traffic levels between June 2013 and June 2014, down from 47% who reported higher traffic in May. Meanwhile, 41% of operators said their customer traffic declined in June, up from 29% who reported similarly in May.

Restaurant operators remain generally optimistic about sales growth in the months ahead. Forty-four percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), down from 50% who reported similarly last month. In comparison, only 10% of restaurant operators expect their sales volume in six months to be lower than it was during the same period in the previous year, up slightly from 8% last month.

Press release