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Brigantine hiring as restaurants ready to reopen

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Posted at 4:42 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 20:29:57-04

SAN DIEGO — One of San Diego's biggest restaurant chains will reopen Friday, with plans to hire up to 250 new people by summer.

Each of the Brigantine's 14 restaurants will begin hosting guests at the end of the week with spaced out tables, employee temperature checks and increased hand sanitizing stations, chief executive Mike Morton said in an interview Tuesday. Morton added that tables will be spaced out, but that outdoor event space at some locations will be converted to main dining to increase capacity.

"It's a hard business when the economy is at full strength and there's not this silent enemy out there," he said. "Now it's just another element to deal with."

The chain includes Brigantine, Miguel's Cocina, and Ketch Tap and Grill.

Morton said the organization has been able to bring back most of its 1,100 furloughed workers, though some have declined because of unemployment boosts. He cautioned that decision as short sighted, given the tight job market that will persist after the extra benefits have gone away.

Meanwhile, Brigantine is advertising 134 openings on its website at locations across the county. Additionally, Morton said Brigantine plans to hire as many as 250 additional for its Portside Pier complex, which is scheduled to open in July along the Embarcadero, on the site of the former Anthony's Fish Grotto. The facility will include three restaurants, two bars and a gelato and coffee shop.

"We're always looking for good people," Morton said. "There might not be a spot available today but there might be three tomorrow."

Brigantine closed its chain of restaurants two days after the governor's stay-at-home order went into effect in mid March. Morton said the restaurants tried to do take-out-only, but that it didn't make business sense at the time.