Restaurant operators reported improvements in November, following an October report that marked the first time in 14 months that the Restaurant Performance Index dipped below 100.
In its report on key indicators for November, the National Restaurant Association showed improvement for same-store sales and customer traffic, but remained one-tenth of 1% below the 100 mark, at 99.9. The 100 mark is the breaking point between industry expansion and contraction.
Produce companies should be able to count on relatively stable sales to the restaurant segment of the foodservice industry despite the below-100 index because a news release from the association showed restaurateurs reported improving sales and customer traffic levels.
Fifty-five percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between November 2011 and November 2012, up from 40% who reported positive sales in October.
Logging an even greater increase for customer traffic, 43% of restaurant operators reported higher customer traffic levels between November 2011 and November 2012, up from 30% who reported positive traffic in October.
Also, restaurant operators are more optimistic about sales growth in the coming months. Thirty-seven percent who participated in the November survey expect to have higher sales in six months compared to the same period in the previous year. That’s up from 31% in October.
Some index numbers continue, however, to show that restaurant operators are concerned about the overall economy, which was reflected in soft numbers for labor and capital expenditure plans in the coming months.