Restaurant customers regaining their appetites


According to the latest monthly survey by the National Restaurant Association, the slump that has had the industry in its grip during difficult economic times is breaking, and its baseline number representing the industry’s overall condition has moved a little further into positive territory.

A score of 100 is the par used by NRA’s Restaurant Performance Index, and for the month of February, restaurants built on a 100.4 January, edging up a little bit higher to 100.7.

“February’s RPI gain was driven by solid improvements in the same-store sales and customer traffic indicators,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association.  “Restaurant operators reported positive same-store sales and customer traffic results in February, after January’s results were dampened by extreme weather conditions in many parts of the country.”

“In addition to improving sales and traffic indicators, restaurant operators’ outlook for capital spending hit a 40-month high, while their expectations for staffing growth rose to the highest level in nearly four years,” Riehle added.

The Expectations Index has actually been riding on the positive side of 100 for over half a year, and now stands at 101.9. 48% are expecting revenue gains over the next six months, compared to only 12% who are expecting negative results. Going along with that is the fact that 26% are expecting to increase staffing, against only 10% expecting to downsize.

RBR-TVBR observation: Some types of restaurants can benefit by being on air just as consumers are making a decision about an eating-out venue. Others can use radio to influence spontaneous decisions made by consumers on shopping, business or pleasure trips. Either way, an ad flight on your station should be very good for a restaurant, so remind them if they’ve been missing in action lately.