The outlook for the restaurant industry is positive for the coming months, as the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) remained well above 100 in January. The RPI, a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry, stood at 101.3 in January, down from December’s strong level of 102.2.  Despite the decline, January represented the third consecutive month that the RPI stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“Although the Restaurant Performer Index dipped somewhat from December’s nearly six-year high, it remained solidly in positive territory,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research and knowledge group for the NRA.  “Restaurant operators reported positive same-store sales for the eighth consecutive month, and a majority of them expect business to continue to improve in the months ahead,” Riehle said.

The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for same-store sales, employees, capital expenditures, and business conditions, stood at 102.1 in January, essentially unchanged from December’s level of 102.3.  January marked the fifth consecutive month that the Expectations Index stood above 100, which represents an optimistic outlook among restaurant operators for business conditions in the months ahead.