U.S. restaurant sales, traffic drive sales in April

June 3, 2015

Driven by stronger same-stores sales and customer traffic levels, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) posted a moderate gain in April. The RPI—a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry—stood at 102.7 in April, up 0.5% from a level of 102.2 in March. In addition, April represented the 26th consecutive month in which the RPI stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“While individual indicators experienced some choppiness in recent months, the overall RPI stood above the 102 level for seven consecutive months,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. “This was driven by consistent majorities of restaurant operators reporting positive same-store sales as well as an optimistic outlook for sales growth in the months ahead.”

For the 14th consecutive month, a majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales, with April’s results representing a solid improvement over March. Seventy-one percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between April 2014 and April 2015, up from 62% who reported higher sales in March. In comparison, only 13% of operators reported a same-store sales decline in April, down from 24% in March.

Restaurant operators also reported stronger customer traffic results in April. Fifty-five percent of restaurant operators reported an increase in customer traffic between April 2014 and April 2015, up from 45% who reported higher traffic in March. Twenty-five percent of operators said their traffic declined in April, down from 34% in March.

A majority of restaurant operators are optimistic that their sales will rise in the months ahead. Fifty-two percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), down from 59% from last month. Meanwhile, only 6% 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 3% last month.

Press release