Restaurant, Bar, Tavern, Nightclub Law

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Is Your Restaurant or Hotel in Compliance with New York’s Spread of Hours Law?

What is the Spread of Hours Law?

Title 12 of the New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations (NYCRR) §142-1.6 is a law that requires employers to pay any employee an extra hour of pay, at the basic minimum hourly rate, for any day on which the employee’s “spread of hours” exceeds 10. The spread of hours is defined as “the length of the interval between the beginning and end of an employee’s workday.”  Essentially, if an employee’s “punch in” and “punch out” time exceeds 10 hours on any given day, even if that employee left the restaurant or hotel for a 6-hour lunch and only actually worked 5 hours that day, the employer must pay them for an extra hour.  The additional hour of pay “is not payment for time worked or worked performed” and does not need to be included in the regular rate for the purpose of calculating overtime pay.
Read more . . .

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Why Lawyers Kill Commercial Real Estate Deals and How to Spot a Bad Deal in Advance

Free Seminar:  Why Lawyers Kill Commercial Real Estate Deals and How to Spot a Bad Deal in Advance
When:  Wednesday, March 15, 2017 from 5:30pm – 7:00pm
Where:  NYC Small Business Solutions, 110 William Street, New York, NY (7th Floor Boardroom)
Seminar Description: Are you tired of spending countless hours showing a property and negotiating a deal, only to have lawyers get involved and kill the transaction?  How can this be avoided?  This seminar is designed to assist commercial real estate brokers identify problematic deal terms before their time is wasted.  The seminar will focus on:

  • Is your ‘non-binding’ letter of intent actually binding?
  • How to properly structure a letter of intent for various transactions (e.g. sale, lease, investment)
  • Identifying hidden lease expenses (i.e.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

You may be the owner of an illegal and accidental franchise and not even know it.

Beware:  If you own more than one restaurant which operates under the same name, you may have created an illegal and unintended franchise.

This sounds crazy, but it is actually very common and the consequences of creating an unintended franchise are substantial, serious, and include the possibility of both personal and criminal liability.  Many well-intentioned operators have tried to avoid the franchise tag by referring to their business relationships and partnerships as a “license,” or a “capital investment,” but the label placed on a relationship has little bearing on whether or not the relationship constitutes a franchise.

Would the same operators have pursued a different path if they had known that their mistake could result in the rescission of every one of their business transactions and the filing of criminal charges against them? It is a felony to sell a franchise without complying with both State and Federal law, and the respective agencies have the power to shut down your restaurants, freeze your bank accounts, order restitution, prevent an operator from opening new locations, impose huge penalties, award attorney’ fees to all injured parties, and rescind every one of the offender’s agreements under claim of fraud.  And, to top it off, claiming that they relied on the advice of their attorney will not help since franchise statutes impose strict liability, meaning that an owner’s intent or knowledge of the law (or lack thereof) is irrelevant.

Read more . . .

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Free Seminars: Legal Considerations when opening a bar or restaurant. Restaurant Management Boot Camp 2.0


Downtown Location:  September 13, 2016 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Uptown Location:  September 28, 2016 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.


Downtown Location: 79 John St., 2nd Fl, New York, NY 10038
Uptown Location:  361 West 125th St., 2nd Fl, New York, NY 10027

Seminar Description:  An insider look at tips, tricks, and best practices to start your first restaurant in NYC, presented by Restaurant Attorney James D. DiPasquale.  To start and run a successful restaurant you must understand many different legal considerations which make operating in New York City, particularly unique. Whether you are a new or existing restaurant owner, this special follow-up to the Restaurant Management Boot Camp class will help you gain a deeper understanding of all of the basic requirements to get your business up and running.

-Forming a Corporation or Limited Liability Company (pros/cons of each)

-Partnership Considerations (The legalities of dealing with your business partners and investors)

-Finding  your restaurant space (Buying an existing restaurant vs. straight lease)

-Negotiating your Restaurant’s lease

-Applying for a Liquor License

-General discussion on permits needed (food service/cabaret/sidewalk café, etc.)

To Register:

For the Downtown seminar:  click HERE or paste the following link into your web browser:

For the Uptown seminar, click HERE or paste the following link into your web browser:

Read more . . .

Friday, July 10, 2015

Obama Care - Are Restaurants Now Required to Provide and Pay for Their Employees’ Health Insurance?

I have been getting many calls from clients asking whether their restaurant (or restaurant group) needs to provide (and pay for) health insurance for their employees.  Unfortunately, the answer is not a simple one.

Beginning this year, companies with 50 full-time equivalent employees (“FTE”) must provide health insurance to at-least 70% of their employees.  In 2016, at-least 95% of all employees must be covered starting in 2016.  If your initial reaction was “I don’t have 50 full-time employees” don’t get too comfortable just yet.  Lets look at the facts:

Read more . . .

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hotel & Conference Center Loses Liquor License Privileges Following Near-Fatal Parking Lot Brawl

Can a bartender or server be held liable in New York for overserving patrons, resulting in injury or death? 

New York laws and regulations are particularly stringent in protecting its citizens from the deadly effects of alcohol. From the initial licensing process, to the Dram Shop Act, there are a number of ways in which a bartender, restaurant, or other for-profit establishment can run into hot water when implementing alcohol service. Fortunately, working with an established and experienced New York restaurant and bar lawyer can help businesses protect themselves and remain aware of the evolving New York laws applicable to the issue.

New York Establishment Loses Liquor License Following Fight

In May, 2015, a Newburgh, New York restaurant and conference center found itself in the aftermath of an alcohol-fueled parking lot scuffle that not only resulted in several arrests, but led to the indefinite suspension of its privilege to serve alcohol to its guests. According to reports, police responded to several disturbance calls at the Read more . . .

Friday, June 12, 2015

Two Cinema Chains Seek to Serve Alcohol in NYC Theaters

Is it legal to drink alcohol in a movie theater in New York City? 

Traditionally speaking, cinematic cocktails were reserved for the actors on screen (think: “shaken, not stirred”) and moviegoers were limited to the overpriced soft drink selections available adjacent to the box office. Over the past several years, cinema outfits in several states have reported great success in combining the theatrical experience with wine and spirits – prompting local New York entrepreneurs to push for a similar allowance.

In Brooklyn’s Nighthawk Theaters, guests are permitted to order drinks directly from servers who discreetly serve the entire theater during the showing of the latest thought-provoking indie film – despite a decades-long ban on alcohol in the cinemaplex. How did this theater get around the prohibition? After aggressive lobbying attempts by both interested groups and the owner himself, the New York General Assembly opted to lighten the mood a little and allow for cocktail service, so long as dinner was also being served in the theater as well. Moreover, patrons were required to leave their seats and procure a drink from a designated bar area – making it all the more difficult to follow a delicately laid-out plot twist.
Read more . . .

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

NYC Restaurants, Bars & Nightclubs Are Frequent Targets of ADA Lawsuits

How is the ADA related to restaurants and bars in New York City?

New York City’s age and architectural quirkiness are two of the reasons we all love it. Unfortunately, the aging nooks and crannies that give our city so much character also make it a challenging place for disabled people to navigate. Though most restaurants, bars, and nightclubs work hard to make their businesses welcoming to all patrons, fully complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is often quite difficult.

Read more . . .

Monday, June 8, 2015

Food Poisoning Lawsuits a Growing Threat to New York Restaurants

How to handle a potential food poisoning claim?

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services estimates that 1 in 6 Americans will get sick from food poisoning this year.
Read more . . .

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

NYC Pub Loses Liquor License Over Failing to Notify the State Liquor Authority of its Cuisine Changes

My bar/restaurant is thinking of changing its menu. Are there any special compliance measures we should take? 

In a recent case involving a Lower East Side American pub restaurant, owners were shocked to learn that changes in menu offerings and bar hours could result in a revocation of their liquor license, as well as bring about hefty fines and penalties.

The restaurant, known as the Sixth Ward, was restyled in 2008 as an American/Irish pub-style bistro, offering regular bar fare and a full bar menu.
Read more . . .

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Community Group Battles Bars, Opposes Liquor Licenses

Can a block association stop a restaurant or bar from getting a liquor license?

Would-be restaurant and bar owners in New York may find that gaining approval of the State Liquor Authority (SLA) is harder than usual for establishments on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. A group known as the LES Dwellers has made it its mission to stop new nightspots from opening in "Hell Square," a nickname the group gave a nine-block area saturated with bars and restaurants.

The LES Dwellers object to the hordes of young people loitering outside of clubs, urinating, vomiting and sometimes literally falling down drunk. The crowds, they complain, make the streets impassable.
Read more . . .

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