For more than two decades, Maslon has represented restaurant entrepreneurs and companies ranging from 180-unit publicly traded chains to single-site restaurants to concept development companies and, more recently, emerging craft beverage businesses. Our attorneys understand the unique challenges such clients face, and Maslon has the depth to provide dedicated strategic resources across a broad spectrum of the industry's legal needs, such as:
- Corporate Formation and Management—From small LLCs raising funds for building single-site establishments to publicly traded corporations, Maslon's corporate lawyers are experienced in forming entities that own and invest in restaurants, while considering such factors as expansion plans, capital requirements, types of investors, and investor liquidity. Once formed, we assist in any required corporate governance documents such as stockholder agreements, equity plans, and ongoing corporate documentation.
- Financing—Whether it's an underwritten public offering or a private placement of LLC interests, Maslon's attorneys work with companies to raise the required capital to develop, open, and operate restaurants, breweries, and distilleries. Our corporate lawyers assist with structuring offerings to make them attractive to investors as well as drafting disclosure and offering documents. Additionally, our finance attorneys work with companies that are undertaking debt financing with banks and other financial institutions.
- Contracts—Our attorneys frequently draft and negotiate contracts required to open and operate a restaurant or beverage business, such as management agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and distribution and supply agreements.
- Securities—Our securities lawyers assist clients with issues unique to publicly traded restaurants, including public and private offerings, periodic SEC reporting and compliance issues, corporate governance, stock option plans and benefits, proxy fights, and mergers and acquisitions.
- Mergers & Acquisitions—Our attorneys understand the unique issues involved in restaurant-related M&A transactions, including account licensing and perishable inventory. We offer beneficial experience to ensure the transactions properly take into account these issues in addition to general M&A concerns.
- Real Estate—Maslon's real estate attorneys have extensive experience drafting and negotiating leases with landlords ranging from national shopping center owners, such as General Growth Properties, Inc., Taubman Properties, and Simon Property Group, to REITs, such as DDR Corp., to regional developers and local landlords. We negotiate leases in a wide range of settings, including regional shopping centers, lifestyle centers, entertainment venues (e.g., Disney, Las Vegas), and stand-alone sites. In addition to leasing services, we assist owners in the acquisition, financing, and sale of real property.
- Design and Construction—Restaurant, brewery, and distillery projects often involve significant design and construction components. Our attorneys have experience advising, drafting, and negotiating complex work letters in restaurant leases, designs, and construction contracts as well as representing clients in connection with disputes or liens that may arise from construction projects.
- Employees and Benefits—Whether it's the "front of the house," "back of the house," or corporate headquarters, restaurant companies are a ripe environment for employee-related issues. Our employment lawyers guide restaurant companies through the intricacies of hiring, terminations, and employee handbooks and policies. We provide counsel on wage-tip, unionization, and other labor matters, and assist large companies with employment agreements and benefit-related issues.
- Trademarks and Intellectual Property—Your business's key pieces of intellectual property—the name, unique layout, menu items, brands and branded merchandise, proprietary management systems, and advertising slogans—help define your brand and boost your bottom line. Our intellectual property lawyers have experience with trademark, patent, and copyright matters that are unique to restaurants, helping our clients protect their brand and intellectual property rights.
- Cybersecurity—As with every business, restaurant and beverage companies need to properly manage their data security. We counsel restaurant companies on all their cybersecurity needs and risks, such as preparing legally-compliant information security and incident response plans, compliance with industry standards (such as PCI DSS), and counsel on data security and vendor risk management best practices.
- Dispute Resolution—When disputes arise, regardless of whether they lead to mediation, arbitration, or litigation, our litigation attorneys have extensive experience representing restaurant owners and operators.
Maslon works or has worked with the following restaurant and beverage companies:
- Rainforest Cafe, Inc.
- Famous Dave's of America, Inc.
- Kona Grill, Inc.
- Redstone American Grill, Inc.
- Crave Restaurant, LLC
- T-Rex Cafe, Inc.
- Williston Holding Company, Inc. (Williston Brewing Company; Doc Holliday's; Gramma Sharon's; and J'Dubs)
- Mexican Restaurants, Inc. (Casa Ole; Tortuga; Crazy Jose's; Monterey's Little Mexico; Uberrito)
- The Boathouse (Disney Orlando and Disney Shanghai)
- Creative Attractions, LLC (Betty & Joe's; Hot Dog Hall of Fame)
- Schussler Creative, Inc. (Galaxy Drive In; Green Acres)
- Mission American Kitchen & Bar
- The Lexington
- Nova Restaurant Group, Inc.
- Streetz American Grill
- The Last Cowboy LLC
- The Uptowner Cafe
- Able Seedhouse + Brewery
- 56 Brewing
Maslon has also represented clients in making private restaurant investments such as in Il Foro and Smack Shack.