PHOENIX - Few industries have been hit harder in the last year than restaurants, with the pandemic causing tens of thousands of lost jobs and closures.
Morning Squeeze, an Arizona breakfast joint with locations in Scottsdale and Tempe, is making a move that's encouraging in a hard-hit industry - expansion.
Shea Neill with Morning Squeeze says their third location will hit downtown Phoenix this spring, and on March 1-2, they’re hiring.
"Whether it’s bartenders, servers, hosts, cooks, dishwashers, managers, anything - you name it, we’re looking for it," Neill said.
That's a rarity in today's restaurant world.
"It’s still a difficult time," said Garrick Taylor from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Taylor says there’s light at the end of the tunnel for the industry, but it’s been a dark tunnel.
According to the National Restaurant Association, Arizona is down 22,000 jobs over last year, a 9.2% drop overall.
Taylor says some restaurants were able to stay open by offering takeout only for months last year. That includes Morning Squeeze.
As a state, Arizona's restaaurants have other advantages too.
"We have cooperative weather that makes outdoor dining more possible, and with the uptick in vaccinations, things are starting to look better and better in the near future," Taylor said.
On Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the proposed stimulus deal currently includes 25 billion dollars in grants for restaurants and bars that lost revenue. That’s on top of multiple rounds of money from the Paycheck Protection Program that’s already been delivered.
The hope is all of that will lead to more new jobs at restaurants across the state.
Check out the Morning Squeeze job fair:
Monday, March 1 - Tuesday, March 2
9 AM - 12 PM
1 North 1st St, Phoenix 85004