Restaurant Industry Show Upbeat Signs

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October 18, 2012 by Mina Singson-Brightman

September 2012 – Latest economic surveys demonstrate that US consumer spending increased in recent months. This is great news for the restaurant industry as consumer spending for drinking and eating places also experienced nearly 3% growth, driving a 0.5% gain in restaurant opening nationwide in Spring 2012, according to the most recent restaurant surveys conducted by The NPD Group, a leading market research company.

“Consumers may not be flocking to restaurants in droves, but they are going out, that’s good news,” says Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. “We’re also seeing that when they do dine out, they are trying new offerings, spending a little more and not relying totally on deals. However, their continuing cost-consciousness, still relatively high unemployment, and economic uncertainty will keep the industry flat.”

Total restaurant units reached 592,960, an increase of 2,872 units and the first positive change since 2009. The number of independent restaurants posted a slight increase of 984 locations, bringing the total of independent restaurants to 320,193. Chain restaurant units were up by 1,888 units to 272,367.

More positive news comes from the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI). The RPI is a monthly statistical indicator that tracks the health of the restaurant industry. This is based on responses a monthly survey of restaurateurs nationwide on key indicators, including same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures.

For eight consecutive months, the RPI remains above 100. Index values above 100 indicates that key industry indicators are in a period of expansion, while index values below 100 represent a period of contraction for key industry indicators.
The forecast for the industry remains optimistic for the remainder of 2012 and for the coming year.

Stay tuned.


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