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Restaurant Performance Index Lower in January 2019 Compared to Previous Month

03/14/2019

The National Restaurant Association reported that the restaurant performance index declined from 101.6 in December to 101.2 in January. Most of the reduction was due to the Current Situation Index that dropped 1.1 percent to 100.7 in January 2019 compared to the previous month. The Expectation Index was higher by 0.3 percent to 101.7 in January.

Restaurant operators reported lower traffic in January that may be attributed to weather but also to the government shutdown. Lower income demographics who either directly rely on government salaries or are paid indirectly as contractors were obviously constraining family expenditure, including eating out.

Although restaurant operators appeared optimistic concerning sales growth in the proximal six-month period, there is general concern over expansion of the economy. Only 20 percent of the responding restaurant operators expected economic conditions to improve within the next six months with 15 percent anticipating a decline. More than half of restaurant operators will make capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling within six months, partly to reduce dependence on low-skilled labor that is becoming progressively more expensive.