Dispute Serves Up Lessons for Restaurateurs in Employee Defection and Trade Secrets


A case pending in New York federal court, BLT Restaurant Group LLC v. Laurent Tourondel, Michael Cinque and LT Burger, Inc., provides a reminder of important lessons for professionals in the food services and restaurant industry regarding employee defection and trade secrets issues. The case arose out of a dispute between BLT Restaurant Group and its accomplished executive chef, Laurent Tourondel. BLT was formed in 2004 and operated eighteen restaurants across in the United States and internationally. BLT hired Tourondel as its Executive Chef. As part of the agreement between BLT and Tourondel, BLT incorporated Tourondel’s name and initials into the branding of the BLT restaurants, hence the acronym: Bistro Lourent Tourondel. One of the restaurants in the BLT family was BLT Burger.

After Tourondel left BLT, he opened a new restaurant named “LT Burger”. BLT sued Tourondel, a colleague who left with him, and LT Burger, and alleged that the LT Burger menu copied the BLT menu “almost exactly” and was based on BLT’s confidential and proprietary information. BLT also claimed that LT Burger and Tourondel used the same proprietary recipes at LT Burger as were used at BLT Burger. BLT further alleged that LT Burger misappropriated elements of BLT’s marketing strategy by promoting Tourondel through similar media as were used by BLT. In addition to violating Tourondel’s contractual confidentiality and non-disclosure obligations, BLT alleged that LT Burger and Tourondel breached Tourondel’s duty of loyalty to BLT and that Tourondel and LT Burger engaged in unfair competition.

Please see full article below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Fisher & Phillips LLP | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.