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Recovery for U.S. restaurant business
Published:  25 January, 2012

The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) recently hit its highest ranking in five months. The monthly RPI is a composite index of the U.S. restaurant industry, analysing its condition and outlook. Its 100.6 level in November – the second above-100 ranking in three months – was up 0.6 percent from October.

A figure of 100 means the sector has neither grown nor shrunk during the period in question; over 100 indicates growth, and under 100 represents contraction.

The index is based on numerous criteria, including traffic, sales, labour and capital expenditure. All have improved, and restaurant operators are optimistic that trend will continue into 2012. This offers great opportunities to amusement and bulk vending operators for potential locations, or to enjoy an uptick in revenues for those machines already on location in food outlets.

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association represents 960,000 restaurant and food-service outlets and a workforce of nearly 13m employees in the restaurant industry.

America’s malls are also evolving. The large chain retailers that have closed stores are now often being replaced by small individual operators. Mall owners seek to fill their empty storefronts with local retailers, often at reduced rates. Lesser rents and flexible leasing agreements mean owners may earn higher profits.

Traditionally, larger chain operations complying with franchise agreements or strict corporate policies have ignored amusement and vending operators. But smaller shops may seek extra income from novelty amusements and bulk vending equipment. Skill cranes, traditional bulk racks, prize merchandisers and photo booths may be relocated to these stores from their former spots on Main Street in many cities and towns.

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