When asked about future plans, 46% of operators reported plans to make capital expenditures for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months, up from 37% at the beginning of 2009.
One score did break the 100 mark in April. The Expectations Index was 100.2, its first time breaking 100 in 18 months. This number had been on the rise for the last five months.
The breach onto the positive side for this category can be attributed to restaurant operators’ outlook for sales and the economy. The association reported a positive six-month outlook for sales growth for the first time in 15 months.
Operators also reported a better outlook on the economy, with 7% more than the month before reporting they expect economic conditions to improve in the next six months.
Meanwhile, the trends that continue to prosper are consistent lowered menu pricing, more menu options, and smaller serving sizes.
“You’ve got McDonalds in coffee, Pizza Hut serving pasta, all these chains are looking for new revenue streams, even if they’re somewhat inconsistent with the brand,” Moll said.
Stensson said some of the performance trends may emerge as permanent.
“Because this has been going on for a while, some of the measures are likely to be permanent,” Stensson said. “Streamlining operations, for example, if operators are making more profit, that won’t go back to the old way just because the economy changes.”