The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) fell below 100 in July. The RPI - a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry - stood at 99.7 in July, down from 100.6 in June and the lowest level in 11 months.

"Although same-store sales and customer traffic levels remained positive in July, restaurant operators' outlook for the economy took a pessimistic turn," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the association. "This survey month was burdened with the debt ceiling crisis and the downgrade in the nation's credit rating, which added an additional layer of uncertainty in an already fragile economic recovery."

"However, if the economy can avoid additional negative shocks in the months ahead, the overall fundamentals continue to point toward growth in the second half of the year," Mr. Riehle added.

Index values above 100 indicate that key industry indicators are in a period of expansion, and index values below 100 represent a period of contraction.x

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