Same-store sales remained positive; Restaurant operators are more pessimistic about sales growth and the economyWASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Due in large part to restaurant operators' dampened outlook for sales growth and the economy, the National Restaurant Association'sRestaurant Performance Index (RPI) fell sharply in October. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 99.5 in October, down 0.9 percent from September. In addition, October represented the first time in 14 months that the RPI fell below 100, which signifies contraction in the index of key industry indicators. "Although restaurant operators overall continued to report positive same-store sales in October, their short-term outlook for sales growth and the economy is decidedly more pessimistic," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. "Nearly two out of five restaurant operators expect business conditions to worsen in the next six months, which is double the proportion that expect conditions to improve." The RPI is constructed so that the health of the restaurant industry is measured in relation to a steady-state level of 100. Index values above 100 indicate that key industry indicators are in a period of expansion, while index values below 100 represent a period of contraction for key industry indicators. The Index consists of two components – the Current Situation Index and the Expectations Index. The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 99.3 in October – down 0.6 percent from a level of 99.9 in September. While same-store sales remained positive in October, declines in the labor and customer traffic indicators outweighed the performance, which resulted in a Current Situation Index reading below 100 for the third time in the last four months.