Dec. Restaurant Activity Index Highest Since Feb.
The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators' six-month outlook for four industry indicators (same-store sales, employees, capital expenditures and business conditions), stood at 100.0 in December the first time in eight months that the index reached the 100 level (see chart above).
Restaurant operators are increasingly optimistic about sales growth in the months ahead. Thirty-five percent of operators expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), up from 31% who reported similarly last month and the highest level in more than two years. In comparison, 21% of operators expect their sales volume in six months to be lower than it was during the same period in the previous year, down from 24% last month.
Restaurant operators are also more optimistic about the direction of the economy in the months ahead. Thirty-four percent of restaurant operators said they expect economic conditions to improve in six months, while 18 percent expect economic conditions to worsen during the next six months. Last month, 27 percent of operators said they expected the economy to improve in six months, while 19 percent expected economic conditions to deteriorate."