Same-store sales rose; Restaurant operators remain uncertain about the economyWASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Buoyed by positive same-store sales and customer traffic results, the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) rose in November. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 99.9 in November, up 0.5 percent from October. However, November marked the second consecutive month in which the RPI stood below 100, which signifies contraction in the index of key industry indicators. "The November gain in the RPI was driven by improving same-store sales and customer traffic levels, both of which registered their strongest performance in three months," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. "However, restaurant operators remain concerned about the direction of the overall economy, due in large part to the uncertainty around the fiscal cliff." 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 99.8 in November – up 0.6 percent from a level of 99.3 in October. Although restaurant operators reported net positive sales and traffic results in November, softness in the labor and capital spending indicators outweighed the performance, which resulted in a Current Situation Index reading below 100 for the fourth time in the last five months.