Restaurants are reporting an increasingly bullish outlook, according to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) for March 2012. The RPI, a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry, stood at 102.2 in March, up 0.3 percent from February and equaling its post-recession high that was previously reached in December 2011.

In addition, the RPI stood above 100 for the fifth consecutive month in March, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators, NRA noted.  “The first quarter finished strong with a solid majority of restaurant operators reporting higher same-store sales and customer traffic levels in March,” NRA noted.  “In addition, restaurant operators are solidly optimistic about sales growth and the economy in the months ahead, which propelled the expectations component of the RPI to its highest level in 15 months,” the report added.