In the association's Restaurant Business Index (RPI), 100 indicates stasis, with any number above that signifying industry expansion, and any number below signifying contraction.
"The RPI's solid performance in March was driven by improvements among both the current-situation and forward-looking indicators" that are components of the overall index, said Hudson Riehle, SVP of the Research and Knowledge Group for the restaurant association. "Restaurant operators reported net gains in both same-store sales and customer traffic in March -- the first time in 31 months that both indicators stood in positive territory."
In addition, operators indicated increased optimism about growth
in sales and staffing levels in the months ahead, and their expressed outlook about the economy "soared to its strongest level in five years," reported Riehle. --Karlene Lukovitz