The National Restaurant Association's (NRA) comprehensive index of restaurant activity -- the Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) -- remained above the benchmark 100 level that signifies expansion in the industry, but declined 0.2 from the previous month to stand at 100.5 in February.
"Restaurant operators continued to report net positive same-store sales results in February, despite customer traffic levels that were challenged by the weather," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. "Looking forward, operators are generally optimistic about sales gains in the months ahead, although they aren't as bullish about the overall economy."
That optimism is good news for red meat demand, as restaurant sales represent a significant portion of total meat demand.
Meanwhile, the Conference Board reports its measure on U.S. consumer confidence rose in February to 99.8, up 0.1 from January and equal to that in December.