WASHINGTON — The Restaurant Performance Index of the National Restaurant Association was flat in October at 100, which compared with 100.1 in September.
The steady R.P.I. level was the result of softer sales and customer traffic being offset by a more optimistic outlook among restaurant operators.
“Although sales results were somewhat softer in October, restaurant operators reported net positive same-store sales for the fifth consecutive month,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice-president of the research and knowledge group for the N.R.A. “In addition, each of the four forward-looking indicators improved in October, which pushed the expectations index to its highest level in four months.”
The current situation index was at 99.5 in October, down from 100.1 in September.
Restaurant operators reported positive same-stores sales for the fifth consecutive month in October, with 45% of operators reporting a same-store sales gain between October 2010 and October 2011. However, this number was down from 50% who reported a sales gain in September.
Customer traffic was softer in October with 37% of operators reporting higher customer traffic from the previous year while 39% reported a traffic decline. This compared with 43% of operators that reported higher customer traffic in September.
The expectations index was up to 100.5 — the highest level in four months. Operators were also fairly optimistic about sales growth in coming months with 35% of operators expecting to have higher sales in six months and only 15% of operators expecting to have their sales volume lower in six months.
Additionally, 26% of operators said they expect the overall economic conditions to improve in six months, which was up from 22% who said the same the previous month.