Restaurant operators are increasingly optimistic about their industry and those good feelings can translate into good sales for fresh produce suppliers with foodservice clients.

The National Restaurant Association’s monthly performance index hit a five-month high in January, according to a news release.

January’s index hit 100.6, up 1% from the December and the highest since August 2012, according to the association, Washington, D.C. Restaurateurs’ outlook for same-store sales, capital spending and the overall economy all improved in January, pushing the association’s expectations index to its highest level in eight months.

Hudson Riehle, senior vice president for the NRA’s research group, said in the release that while some restaurant operators still have mixed feelings, the overall mood in the industry is improving. Any number above 100 for the performance index indicates growth in the industry and Riehle said the January uptick is significant in that regard.

For the first time in four months, the January survey showed restaurant operators have a net positive outlook for the overall economy. Thirty percent said they expect economic conditions to improve in six months, almost double the 17% who felt that way in December.

Forty-six percent of the survey respondents in January said they expect higher sales in six months, up from 37% the previous month. The January expectation for increasing sales is at the highest level in seven months, according to the NRA release.