The hospitality industry faces unique challenges, the dynamics of which have changed dramatically in the last few years alone. Restaurants, hotels, and other establishments must operate in an increasingly competitive and uncertain environment while facing pressure in the form of constantly evolving laws and regulations. Ensuring your business is positioned for long-term success takes more than market prowess and an entrepreneurial spirit. A hospitality law attorney can make the difference between success and failure.
SederLaw is prepared to help. Our collective experience and dedicated advocacy allow us to prepare customized strategies for protecting the rights and interests of our hospitality clients.
Hospitality Clients We Serve
The hospitality industry can be divided into four broad categories, all of which include businesses we represent:
- Food and beverage – bars, restaurants, alcohol and spirit wholesalers, cafeterias, fast food restaurants, catering services, food manufacturing and transportation, regional restaurant brands
- Lodging – hotels, motels, inns, campgrounds, cabins, resorts, hostels, local and national lodging establishments, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals
- Travel and tourism – airlines and airports, travel agents, tour operators, accommodation services, conferences and events, event planners, conventions
- Recreation – entertainment venues, sports venues, attractions, theme parks, museums, live music, fitness studios, gyms
We also recognize that the line between hospitality and retail is becoming much more difficult to distinguish, as traditional hospitality companies also offer retail services. As a result, some of our clients have included retail establishments such as pharmacies and marijuana dispensaries (recreational and medical). The businesses and services listed above are not exclusive, so our firm serves others within the hospitality and retail industries.
Challenges Facing The Hospitality Industry
Now more than ever, the hospitality industry must deal with significant difficulties. There have always been ongoing challenges such as the high failure rate of new restaurants (up to 60% by some estimates). But the coronavirus pandemic introduced a completely new element that almost no one was prepared for, as restaurants, bars, and other businesses were forced to shut down and implement mask and social distancing measures.
More broadly, the hospitality industry must handle these and other issues:
- Liability for customer and employee injuries
- Liability for third-party injuries (e.g. victims harmed in automobile accidents caused by intoxicated bar patrons)
- Employment lawsuits involving matters such as harassment and discrimination
- Labor law problems such as wage and hour violations
- Coronavirus-related issues including vaccine mandates and health and safety rules
- Poor employee performance and customer service complaints
- Marketing, branding, and reputation management
- Financing and expansion
- Green and environmentally friendly practices
Some of these concerns have been present in the hospitality industry since time immemorial and likely will be in the foreseeable future. Others, including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic, are relatively new but have already had disproportionate impacts on certain operations like restaurants and tourism. Understanding and responding to the challenges that confront your hospitality business will require the diligence and skill of a knowledgeable Massachusetts attorney.
How Our Law Firm Helps Hospitality Clients
Our Business and Corporate Law practice is experienced with handling matters specific to the hospitality industry. We provide the following services among others:
- Counsel and advisors. We provide legal counsel to food, beverage, and retail companies providing hospitality services. As active members of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, we regularly host lectures and seminars on crucial legal issues affecting the industry.
- Employee manuals, handbooks, and training. Our firm routinely drafts manuals, handbooks, and training materials to help guide hospitality employees. By establishing clear policies and expectations for employees, businesses can reduce the likelihood of encountering legal problems like those mentioned above.
- Employment and labor law matters. Before you hire any employees, it is imperative that you understand the relevant local, state, and federal employment and labor rules that will govern your business. We can guide you through these complicated areas of law to help you succeed.
- Commercial leasing. Operating a hospitality business starts with securing commercial leasing. We handle all aspects of this important step, including drafting and negotiating leases. We specifically help our clients understand their rights and responsibilities related to leasing.
- Real property issues. We also assist with matters like real estate acquisition, zoning, land use, permitting, and other concerns that touch on real property. Many hospitality operations have real property issues that are unlike those of other businesses, but we are prepared to tackle them.
- Financing. Whether you are seeking to begin a hospitality business or expand an existing one, you will need to line up financing. Our firm brings considerable knowledge within the areas of commercial financing and lending to help our clients.
- Marketing. Certain businesses, such as bars or restaurants, rely heavily on their marketing efforts to establish and maintain their reputations. In staking your company’s market position, we can assist with such issues as intellectual property rights and branding.
- Alcohol and spirits regulations. Specific rules and regulations apply to establishments that serve alcoholic beverages. Failure to obtain and keep a liquor license, for example, will prove fatal to a bar. We advise on the significant legal responsibilities these rules entail and how to avoid licensing problems.
- Corporate and LLC structuring. Starting a business requires selecting the right legal entity, which is typically a corporation or limited liability company (LLC). We can explain the advantages and disadvantages of various legal entities in helping your business select the best one.
- Business planning. Our attorneys put their business backgrounds to work by advising hospitality clients on how to plan their operations. Short- and long-term business planning is essential for setting your company on the path to success.
Contact Our Worcester Hospitality Law Attorney
Your hospitality business deserves a committed law firm that is ready to take care of the diverse legal issues you will encounter. That law firm is SederLaw. If you have questions about Massachusetts hospitality law, give us a call today to schedule a consultation.