Driven by a solid improvement in restaurant operators' outlook for sales growth, capital spending plans and staffing levels, the National Restaurant Association's (NRA) Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) rose to its highest level in 27 months in February. The comprehensive index of restaurant activity stood at 99.0, up 0.7 percent from January and the highest since November 2007.

Although same-store sales, customer traffic and capital expenditures remained negative, restaurant operators said they are more optimistic about the direction of the economy. Thirty-eight percent said they expect economic conditions to improve in six months, while 13 percent expect economic conditions to worsen during the next six months. To view the complete data, visit