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Brewer, Alice Cooper urge Arizonans to dine out for the common good

Gov. Jan Brewer took the stage Sept. 10 with rocker and restaurateur Alice Cooper to convince Arizonans that dining out is good for the state.

Announcing a three-month public-awareness campaign called Dine 4 AZ, they said going to restaurants supports businesses and helps preserve jobs. Brewer noted that restaurants generate 10 percent of Arizona’s tax revenues.

“We are working hard to lead the Grand Canyon State forward and out of this recession, and Dine 4 AZ fits perfectly into our plan,” she said. “Please treat your family to a meal and we’ll get through this together.”

Participating restaurants are offering coupons, discounts and promotions at Dine4AZ.com.

“People come to Arizona to have fun. And it’s our responsibility not to gouge the audience, not to gouge the customers – just to give them a great time,” Cooper said.

Shamrock Foods Co., a Phoenix-based food distributor, is sponsoring the campaign.

With more than a quarter million employees, Arizona’s food-service industry is vital to state’s economy, said Stephen D. Chucri, president and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association.

“We’ve been hit hard by unemployment, immigration issues and rampant foreclosures in our housing market, but with the Dine 4 AZ initiative we can all do some simple things to get our economy rolling again,” he said.

Arizona businesses offering food and drink shed 6,300 jobs during the year ending in July, including a loss of 4,500 jobs from June to July, according to the state Department of Commerce.

Marshall Vest, director of Economic and Business Research Center at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, said he doesn’t expect the Dine 4 AZ to have a large impact.

“All of these campaigns are a feel-good type of effort to get people to think about how their actions and purchasing decisions make a difference,” Vest said. “So I think it’s beneficial, but I think the overall effect on the economy would be pretty small.”

The news conference was held at Alice Cooperstown in downtown Phoenix. Cooper said business at his restaurant has been consistent, mostly because of its proximity to the US Airways Center and Chase Field.

His advice to restaurant owners: Stay consistent and do what you know best.

For example, if you make a great pizza then continue to make a great pizza.

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