Stormy weather in many parts of the country in February dampened restaurant traffic for the third consecutive month, according to a monthly restaurant performance report by the Washington, D.C.-based National Restaurant Association.
The restaurant performance index — a monthly composite that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry — stood at 100.5, down two-tenths of a point from January, according to a news release.
Nevertheless, the fact that the overall index has remained above 100 for 12 straight months signifies expansion in key industry indicators.
“Restaurant operators continued to report net positive same-store sales results in February, despite customer traffic levels that were challenged by the weather,” Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the research and knowledge group, said in the release. “Looking forward, operators are generally optimistic about sales gains in the months ahead, although they aren’t as bullish about the overall economy.”
The index examines the current situation and expectations.
The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures, stood at 99.3 in February — down two-tenths of a point from January.
Although restaurant operators reported net positive same-store sales in February, continued softness in customer traffic and labor indicators outweighed the performance, resulting in the reading of less than 100.
The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for same-store sales, employees, capital expenditures and business conditions, stood at 101.7 in February — down slightly from January’s level of 101.8.
Despite the modest decline, February represented the 16th consecutive month in which the index was above 100, which indicates that restaurant operators remain optimistic about business conditions in the coming months, according to the release.