The National Restaurant Association
reported strong restaurant activity in March, with the Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) reaching 101.0 for the second time in four months (see chart above). That's the first time that the RPI has been at a level of 101 twice in a four-month period since the pre-recession summer months of 2007. Other highlights include:
1. March represented the sixth time in the last seven months that the RPI stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.
2. The Current Situation Index for restaurant activity rose above 100 for the first time in 43 months, which signifies expansion in the current situation indicators.
3. The Expectations Index stood above the 100 level for the eighth consecutive month, which signifies expansion in the forward-looking indicators.
4. For the sixth consecutive month, restaurant operators reported a positive outlook for staffing gains in the months ahead.
5. Same-store sales and customer traffic levels continued to improve in March.