Restaurant Performance Index rose 1.2% in April

Bolstered by favorable comparisons for the current situation indicators, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) registered a healthy increase in April. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 106.3 in April, up 1.2% from a level of 105.1 in March. 

The recent surge in the RPI largely reflects the sales and customer traffic levels compared to the most challenging months of the pandemic, and is not a direct indication of the current health of the restaurant industry. Still, the positive trajectory in the forward-looking indicators points toward improving business conditions in the months ahead. 

The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators, stood at 106.7 in April – up 2.2% from a level of 104.4 in March. The vast majority of restaurant operators reported higher sales and customer traffic compared to April 2020 – the worst month of the pandemic. However, overall industry sales remain below pre-pandemic levels.

The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for four industry indicators, stood at 105.9 – up 0.2% from the previous month. Restaurant operators are generally optimistic about sales and the economy in the coming months, and their plans for capital expenditures rose to a record high            

Read the full RPI report.

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 5/28/2021