Here is a minor indicator I follow from the National Restaurant Association: RPI drops into contraction territory
Due in large part to declines in both same-store sales and customer traffic, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) fell below 100 in August. The RPI stood at 99.6, down 1.0 percent from a level of 100.6 in July.
“Broad-based declines in the current situation indicators caused the RPI to fall below 100 for the first time in eight months,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association. “Restaurant operators reported soft sales and traffic in August, along with corresponding dips in the labor indicators. While the Expectations component of the index remains in expansion territory, it too has trended downward in the past several months.”
The index decreased to 99.6 in August, down from 100.6 in July. (below 100 indicates contraction).
Restaurant spending is discretionary, so even though this is “D-list” data, I like to check it every month.