Arizona's restaurant industry leading nation in sales growth

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- More and more people are deciding to put down the pots and pans and hit up a restaurant instead. That means good things not only for eateries but for our economy as a whole.

Christian Villa Fuerte is a self-described foodie and also works at a restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale. He said he can definitely see a boost in sales.

“This summer has been a little better than last year and the year before. It's been more consistent," he said.

He also said it’s keeping things steady.

"(It's) not that we've been hiring more, but I feel like it's not as slow where we have to let people go or cut down on staff," said Villa Fuerte.

The Arizona Restaurant Association said for the first time in recent history, Arizona will lead the nation in year-over-year sales growth for the food service industry.

The industry in our state is projected to make $11 billion by the end of 2014.

Lucy Lopez, who also loves to hit the restaurant scene, said she's seen the difference this year.

"I see more people; I see bigger groups together,” she said.

The association said the boost is largely due to added restaurants, not only giving Arizona's foodies more selection but also creating more jobs.

Wildflower Bread Company alone said it will create at least 80 jobs with two new restaurants in the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

According to the association, restaurants account for nearly 300,000 jobs in Arizona this year.