Restaurant Industry

News & Analysis as of

S. CA Restaurant Chain to Pay Over $750,000 for Violating Wage & Hour Laws

The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division  announced last week that a Southern California based restaurant chain will pay more than $750,000 in civil penalties and back wages for serious violations of wage and hour...more

Are You Adopting a Service Charge Model to Help Raise Wages?

As lawmakers continue to increase the minimum wage in states and cities across the country, many hoteliers and restaurateurs are implementing service charges and tip pools in order to meet rising costs and help workers earn...more

Serial Accommodation Lawsuits Against Restaurants

Earlier this year, we reported on a spike in the number of ADA public accommodation lawsuits being filed against businesses in Illinois. (FR Alert: Wave of ADA Public Accommodation Lawsuits Continues to Spread, Hits...more

Are Robot-Operated “Smart Restaurants” the Wave of the Future?

In the face of increasing minimum wage laws and shrinking numbers of qualified cooks in the work force, many restaurants are feeling the heat. One Bay area start-up, Momentum Machines (Momentum), is touting a solution that...more

Naming Products and Services With Brands?

Word to the wise, not the best idea to name a product or service by using another’s brand. So, when Duke’s Seafood & Rib Shack restaurant wants to create a name for their bar, permission would be required to use the...more

MarkIt to MarketTM - December 2015

The December issue of Sterne Kessler's MarkIt to Market TM newsletter discusses key takeaways as a result of a recent TTAB case in which a trademark was found to be laudatory, sends seasons greetings from the firm, and...more

D.C. Council Introduces Legislation to Protect Retail and Food Service Employees

On December 1, 2015, the D.C. Council introduced legislation that would establish standards for retail and food service employers in D.C. The legislation, the Hours and Scheduling Stability Act of 2015 (Bill B21-0512) (the...more

Pittsburgh Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Declared Legally Infirm

In Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association v. City of Pittsburgh, No. GD 15-016442 (Allegheny Ct. Com. Pl. Dec. 21, 2015), the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County found the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Leave Ordinance to...more

New York Adopts Tipped Worker and Fast Food Worker Minimum Wage Regulations

As we reported previously, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) proposed a series of new regulations earlier this year. These proposals included new regulations raising the minimum wage and reducing the maximum...more

Pittsburgh's Paid Sick Days Ordinance is Found to be Invalid and Unenforceable

In a ruling issued December 21, 2015, a trial court judge held that the City of Pittsburgh did not have the authority under state law to enact the Paid Sick Days Ordinance that Pittsburgh's City Council passed on August 3,...more

National Restaurant Association Challenges Minimum Wage Law

Earlier in 2015, the New York Legislature rejected a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $11.50 in the Big Apple, and to $10.50 in the rest of the state.  Governor Andrew Cuomo utilized his ability to direct the labor...more

Call Me Rachael: New York City Issues New Guidance on Gender Identity Rules

New York City’s Commission on Human Rights issued a document entitled “Legal Enforcement Guidance on the Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Expression: Local Law No. 3” on December 21. The Commission enforces...more

UPDATE: Employee Tip Pooling – Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You!

We have talked with you in the past about the risks of allowing employees to pool or share tips. This is a pretty common practice in the food service industry, but there can be concerns because of the complexity of compliance...more

Putting Food Donation Liability Protection Laws to Use

Although many of us will share a bountiful table of food with loved ones this holiday season, there are many for whom putting food on the table is a struggle (and not just during the holidays). At the same time, 40% of food...more

Putting a Price on Clean Air

There has been a lot of scholarly discussion in recent years about the importance of putting a price on natural resources. The pricing issue has been particularly in the limelight in connection with the drought in the...more

Committee Formation Meeting for Restaurants Acquisition I, LLC

Upcoming Committee Formation Meeting: December 22, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. Case Name: Restaurants Acquisition I, LLC, d/b/a Black-Eyed Pea Restaurants and Dixie House - Case Number:15-12406 (KG)...more

A Legal Tipping Point – Are No-Tip Policies the Wave of the Future?

In this country, there are thousands of employees who earn their living off tips or gratuities they receive from customers. Over the last several years, there has been a movement afoot, particularly in the restaurant...more

Commercial Lease Issues for Rhode Island Restaurants

The landlord-tenant relationship is one of the most common business relationships in any state. Each landlord-tenant relationship presents its own unique set of challenges because the specific business operations of the...more

P.F. Chang’s Sued over Gluten-Free Upcharge

On November 24th, a Northern District of California judge refused to dismiss an Unruh Civil Rights Act class action lawsuit against the popular restaurant chain, P.F. Chang’s. The plaintiff alleged that the $1 upcharge the...more

IRS Issues Favorable Rules for Retail and Restaurant Remodeling Costs - Retail Did You Know?

Dear Retail Clients and Friends, On November 19, the IRS released Revenue Procedure 2015-56, which provides a safe harbor method of accounting for costs incurred by retailers and restaurants in remodel and refresh...more

Retail and Hospitality Group News - November 2015

It’s Getting Easier to do Business in Massachusetts - Within his first several months in office, Governor Charlie Baker took steps to make Massachusetts a friendlier place to do business. On March 31, 2015, Governor...more

New York: Restaurants: To Register or Not?

I was in Tribeca in New York City a couple of weeks ago going to a familiar haunt: WHITE STREET located on West Broadway. Being the trademark nerd that I am, I wondered if the restaurant had a trademark registration for WHITE...more

When Good Food Goes Bad: Contamination and Product Liability

Last week, lunch came back to bite dozens of unsuspecting diners throughout Washington and Oregon. Something in Chipotle’s fresh, healthy, and responsibly-sourced fast food caused uncharacteristic sickness for those...more

Tip Pooling Tax Implications—What Employers Need to Know

The sharing of tips is referred to as “tip pooling,” “tip splitting,” or “tip sharing.” For purposes of this discussion, we will refer to the sharing of tips as tip pooling. Tip pooling occurs generally in two forms....more

Dealing with Restaurant and Retail Leases in Bankruptcy

The recent Great Recession and the wave of bankruptcy filings that accompanied it presented a number of challenges for landlords and tenants. Yet, as the economy has recovered, we still continue to see restaurant and retail...more

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