Restaurant Performance Index edged down 0.1% in March

The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) held relatively steady in March, as the current situation indicators and operator sentiment remained essentially unchanged from the previous month’s readings. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 103.7 in March, down 0.1% from February’s level of 103.8.  

A majority of restaurant operators reported an increase in same-store sales and customer traffic from year-ago levels, while capital spending activity remained healthy. Although operators are generally optimistic about their own business in the coming months, their 6-month outlook for the overall economy remained negative for the second consecutive month.  

The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators, stood at 104.6 in March – unchanged from February. All four of the current situation indicators were in expansion territory in March, which means the overall industry remains on a path toward recovery from the pandemic lows two years ago.  

The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for four industry indicators, stood at 102.8 – down 0.2% from the previous month and the third consecutive monthly decline. Still, most operators remain optimistic about sales growth in the months ahead.          

Read the full RPI report.

Restaurant Performance Index

RPI Methodology

The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) is a monthly composite index that tracks the health of the U.S. restaurant industry. Launched in 2002, the RPI is released on the last business day of each month.

The RPI is measured in relation to a neutral level of 100. Index values above 100 indicate 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 Index consists of two components — the Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), and the Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for four industry indicators (same-store sales, employees, capital expenditures and business conditions).

The RPI is based on the responses to the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey, which is fielded monthly among restaurant operators nationwide on a variety of indicators including sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures. Restaurant operators interested in participating in the tracking survey: contact Bruce Grindy.

For more detailed analysis of the RPI and Industry Tracking Survey data, see Restaurant TrendMapper.

Updated 4/29/2022