U.S. restaurant operators feeling more confident

By

SeafoodSource staff

Published on
January 30, 2012

Fueled by same-store sales and restaurant traffic growth and a bullish outlook among U.S. restaurant operators, the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) rose sharply in December.

That’s much-welcomed news for seafood, roughly two-thirds of which is consumed away from home.

The RPI stood at 102.2 in December, its highest level in nearly six years. In addition, December represented the third time in the last four months that the RPI topped 100, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“Coupled with the solid November results, the RPI’s impressive December performance bodes well for continued positive industry momentum in the year ahead,” said Hudson Riehle, senior VP of the NRA’s research and knowledge group. “The ripple effect will likely be felt throughout the supply chain as well, with restaurant operators’ plans for capital spending rising to its highest level in more than four years.”

With higher sales and an improving economy expected in the months ahead, restaurant operators are also beefing up plans for capital spending, according to the NRA; 55 percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months, up from 47 percent last month and the strongest level in more than four years.

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