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The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index, a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry, stood at 96.7 in September, down 1.7 percent from August and its 11th consecutive month below 100.
“Nearly two out of three restaurant operators reported negative same-store sales and traffic levels in September, while 50 percent expect their sales in six months to be lower than the same period in the previous year,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of Research and Information Services for the Association.
Reihle observed, “The rapid deterioration in economic conditions is reflected in operator sentiment, with a record 42 percent of restaurant operators saying the economy is currently the number-one challenge facing their business."
And if that weren't dark enough of an outlook by restaurant operators, the survey shows that only fourteen percent of operators expect economic conditions to improve in six months, down from 24 percent who reported similarly last month. The majority expects a gloomier scenario. “Operators aren’t optimistic about the economy looking forward either, with 50 percent expecting economic conditions to worsen in six months," states Reihle.