Restaurant Law Blog

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

State Liquor Authority Legalizes Poker in Bars and Restaurants? Well, Sort Of.

We all know that the ABC Law prohibits gambling in all restaurants and bars.  Recently, however, the question of whether poker should be banned as illegal gambling came before the SLA.  The long and short answer is no, but yes.  Confused?  So is everyone else.  For that reason the SLA issued a declaratory ruling outlining when poker gaming is authorized.  Here are the rules:


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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Department of Health Letter Grading – Success or Failure?

It should come as no surprise that there are considerable mixed reviews regarding the apparent success or failure of the Department of Health letter grading system.  On August 1, 2011 Mayor Bloomberg and the Health Department released a survey conducted by Baruch College, which shows that approximately 90% of New Yorkers approve of the letter grading.  The survey also suggests that approximately 70% of New Yorkers now rely on restaurant grading when choosing where they will eat.  In restaurateur terms, the financial impact of “earning” a B or a C is devastating.  New Yorkers are also becoming keenly aware of what “Grade Pending” really means. 


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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Employee Posting Required Effective November 14, 2011.

Beginning on November 14, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is mandating that all employers conspicuously post a new 11” x 17” poster advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act to organize unions.  Employers will be able to download the poster from the NLRB online website, or obtain one at their local NLRB office. 

The goal is to increase employees’ awareness and knowledge of their NLRA rights. This poster must be posted with your other labor law posters, and if 20% or more of your employees do not speak English then you're required to post the poster in those languages which your employees speak.  If your employee rules and regulations are listed on your website, you will also be required to provide a link to this new poster online. 


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Monday, October 3, 2011

Letter Grading – Worst Health Inspection Violations to Receive.

Identifying the worst violations a restaurant can receive is simple, and there are two.  The first is a violation of NYCHC 81.15(a), or “not having a supervisor present at all times who holds a Food Protection Certificate.”  This is an automatic 28 points and virtually impossible to overturn at an OATH hearing.  This does not mean that the head manager on duty needs to hold the FPC, all that is required is that a supervisor with a FPC be present at all times.  This is often confused by DOH inspectors, but be safe rather than sorry and ensure that every manager has their FPC. 


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Monday, October 3, 2011

Liquor License Renewals – Read This First. Changes at the SLA.

Effective immediately, anyone holding a liquor license in NYC whose corporate structure substantially changes (80% change , must now, in addition to seeking approval from the SLA, notify their local community board 30 days prior to such change.  Additionally, a fee of $128 must accompany applications for corporate change. 


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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Checklist For New Restaurant Formation

CHECKLIST FOR NEW RESTAURANT FORMATION

CONCEPT

  • Create your own concept
  • Consider buying a franchise
  • Consider purchasing an existing restaurant
  • Draft a business plan

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    Friday, July 8, 2011

    How to Distract People from Noticing that ‘C” Grade you Received from the Health Department.

    I was recently walking on the Upper West Side and noticed this creative attempt to disguise the ‘C’ Grade received by a local establishment.  Creative…yes, but effective, I’m not so sure.  Two days later the children’s drawings were removed leaving one to ponder whether the DOH stepped in.  


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    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Your Business Partnership has an Expiration Date. When Will You Exit, and Will You Do So Voluntarily?

    All Partnerships End.  Whether it occurs by sale, sickness, death or court order, your partnership will end at some point.  Unfortunately, most partners do not have a written exit strategy or buy-out agreement in place.  They implicitly trust their partner during the honeymoon phase only to later realize that substantial differences of opinion exist as to how the business should be run.  Take Albert Trummer of Apotheke in Chinatown.  Last year Mr. Trummer was arrested twice for lighting alcohol atop his bar on fire, something he has argued is a common bartenders’ practice.  Partially at issue is whether Mr. Trummer’s partner, Heather Tierney, set Trummer up to be arrested in an effort to force him out of their partnership.  According to Glenn Collins of the New York Times, the partnership dispute is now in mediation in New York County’s Supreme Court.  A better practice is to build into your partnership agreement a buy-out provision while your partnership is still in its infancy.  Partners must ask themselves what they will do when a dispute arises, if partner falls ill, or if a death occurs.  Unless you want your partner’s husband or wife to inherit their interest in the partnership, these considerations must be given careful forethought.  For more information on Partnership considerations, click here


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    Friday, June 10, 2011

    Top 15 Reasons Why Restaurants Fail

    I just came across this list.  “The Top 15 Reasons why Restaurants Fail:

    1. Lack of experience, 2. Lack of capital, 3. Poor locations, 4. Inventory, 5. Equipment, 6. Poor credit practices, 7. Personal expenses, 8. Premature expansion, 9. Bad attitude, 10. Too many expenses, 11. Poor collections, 12. Low sales, 13. Inventory mismanagement, 14. Competition, and 15. Crime

    I’m not sure that I agree with the list entirely.  Let me start by saying that I am not a restaurant owner.  I am a restaurant attorney.  So, I may be wrong ( and often am)  but many of my clients who have sold their business express different reasons as to why their business failed.  This is what I’ve gathered to be their top reasons why restaurants fail: 


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    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    The Yankees’ In-Seat Food Service Providers File Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Theft Of Tips.

    In the field level seating section of Yankee Stadium, spectators are given menus that read:  “A 20% service charge will be added to the listed prices…”  That statement has become the subject of a class action lawsuit filed in Federal Court on May 9, 2011 which alleges that the catering companies that service Yankee Stadium misappropriated employee tips.  The lawsuit contends that the catering companies kept the twenty percent ‘service charge’ on top of the cost for the food and drink.  According to the employees, the ‘service charge’ was actually a gratuity that was owed to the employees.  In support of their claim, employees cited the recent 2008 New York Court of Appeal’s decision in Samiento v. World Yacht Inc., 10 N.Y.3d 70 (2008), which held that charges that are not voluntary payments made by the consumer, may be a “charge purported to be a gratuity within the meaning of the New York Labor Law statute.”  Even the Yankees Can’t Avoid Employee Wage Lawsuits.


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    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    Liquor License Violation - State Liquor Authority Issues Emergency Suspension of The Player’s Club Bar in Rockland County.

    On May 25, 2011 members of the State Liquor Authority suspended the liquor license belonging to the Player’s Club, a bar located at 360 West Rout 59 in Nanuet.  The suspension was issued following the discovery of illegal drug sales and prostitution, in addition to a recent history of several violent assaults.  By law, the State Liquor Authority can temporarily suspend a liquor license if it finds that the public health, safety, or welfare is in immediate jeopardy.  The Player Club bar owners have been charged with sixteen separate violations of the ABC Law including: permitting the trafficking of controlled substances, paying employees off the books, employing unregistered bouncers, total lack of supervision, and employing dancers to induce patrons to purchase alcohol at inflated prices.  These new charges come in addition to twelve prior charges that were brought against the club’s owners for lewd and indecent performance, permitting drug trafficking and lack of supervision.  Most Common Liquor License Violations


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