Hundreds line up for chance at fast-food job in Mesa
by Angelique Soenarie - Apr. 21, 2009 12:00 PM
The Republic | azcentral.com
Hundreds of people stood in line early Tuesday hoping to be one of the 60 people hired to open In-N-Out Burger's third Mesa location this month at Fiesta Mall, near Alma School Road and U.S. 60.
Carlos Thompson, 40, was one of many hopefuls who joined the line at 7:30 a.m. in front of the Hilton Phoenix East/Mesa, just north of the U.S. 60.
"I went to the one on Stapley Drive and heard they were hiring," said Thompson, who finished his interview at 10:17 a.m. and was told he will get a call for a second interview Thursday or Friday.
The popular franchise is expected to open its newest restaurant at the end of April. Tuesday's long lines, which wrapped around the hotel on West Holmes Avenue, was the second time in recent weeks that service industry jobs have drawn huge crowds.
At a recent job fair at Mesa Ranch Plaza, hundreds of people came out to apply for jobs for the new Pro's Ranch Market at Stapley Drive and Southern Avenue, according to news reports.
In March the state's unemployment rate reached 7.8 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
Tuesday's crowd started developing as early at 5:30 a.m., said Ray Gonzalez, the division manager for Mesa's three stores.
"I got here at 6:30 a.m. and there were already 50 people in line," said Gonzalez, adding that that interviews started at 8:30 a.m., a half hour earlier before the scheduled time.
But Gonzalez said the crowds are typical when the California-based burger chain opens a new store. In June, about 1,000 people showed up at the new store at Signal Butte Road, near the U.S. 60.
"It doesn't surprise us," said Gonzalez. He added that the starting wage is $10 an hour for new hires who work part time. New employees have the chance to earn a 25 cent merit raise within the first 100 hours.
"It's a good start," he said.
Ricardo Rosales, 23, of Mesa is hoping to land a job in the next six weeks. The father of an 8-month-old daughter and 3-year-old son was laid off in January from his janitorial job at manufacturing company in Phoenix.
"I need a job desperately," he said.
Rosales who is temporarily staying with his parents in Mesa, said he needs to find a job and an apartment because his parents face foreclosure of their home in July.
Standing behind him, the mother of his children who was also applying, Jatana Domroes, 22, said she was laid off from her job as a store clerk from a Chevron gas station.
"We got here at 8 a.m. I have never come out to anything like this, but things are so bad. No one is hiring."