The restaurant industry has long been a bright point in the economy, even considering the recent financial downturn. The latest reports from the sector found that hiring continues to reach new heights as one specific meal achieves higher levels of popularity.

Strong growth in February
The National Restaurant Association reported that the restaurant industry gained more than 21,000 new jobs in February, which represented its 48th consecutive monthly gain in that time. After four straight years of gains, the industry's total workforce is well over 1.2 million employees. Despite that growth, analysts expected even more.

"While February's increase is an improvement from the sluggish gains of the previous two months, it still remains short of the average monthly gains of more than 200,000 jobs registered during all of 2013," said Bruce Grindy, the National Restaurant Association's chief economist.

In the near future, economic predictions aren't entirely positive, but the four-year streak of growth isn't in danger of being lost anytime soon. About 29 percent of restaurant operators expected the economy to improve in the next six months, while 20 percent of respondents expected it to lose steam. These figures have been common in the past half year or so.

Breakfast sees growth
Convenience Store Decisions added that some of that growth may have a root cause. While consumers had lunch and dinner less regularly at restaurants in 2013, research company the NPD Group saw that visits for breakfast grew last year. More than 12.5 billion breakfasts were served at U.S. foodservice outlets, which was a gain of 3 percent over 2012 and the fourth consecutive year of growth.

Quick service breakfast sales, which represent four-fifths of all morning meals, grew by 4 percent in the yearly period. Midscale and family dining restaurants, a smaller market, saw sales fall 3 percent.

In the next decade or so, breakfast will likely only gain speed in the foodservice world. Morning restaurant meal visits will rise 7 percent over that time, with quick service breakfast in particular poised to expand 9 percent.

"Breakfast continues to be a bright spot for the restaurant industry as evidenced by the number of chains expanding their breakfast offerings and times," said Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst for information company The NPD Group.

Hospitality and restaurant industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in food service equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.