WASHINGTON — The Restaurant Performance Index was flat in July as the result of soft sales and traffic levels as well as a deteriorating outlook among restaurant operators, according to the National Restaurant Association.
Specifically, the index was at 99.4 in July, down 0.1% from June, and its fourth consecutive month of decline.

The index also has been below 100 for three consecutive months, representing a contraction in the index of key industry indicators.

“While there were signs in recent months that the short-term outlook may be improving, the latest figures indicate that the restaurant industry’s recovery has yet to fully gain traction,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice-president of the research and knowledge group for the National Restaurant Association. “Restaurant operators continued to report declines in same-store sales and customer traffic in July, and their previously optimistic outlook for sales growth and the economy softened in recent months.”

Restaurant operators reported negative same-store sales for the fourth consecutive month in July and a net decline in customer traffic. Forty-four per cent of operators reported same-store sales decline in July and only 39% reported same-store sales gain during the month. Thirty-five per cent of operators reported an increase in customer traffic in the month while 46% reported a traffic decline in July.

Overall, 38% of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales during the next six months, which was down from 42% last month and represented the lowest level in six months.