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Restaurant, Food Service & Hospitality Group

Phillips Nizer represents clients in all aspects of the hospitality industry.  Our clients include chefs, restauranteurs, hotels, private clubs, investors, and franchises, as well as distributors, importers and manufacturers of spirits, wine, and beer.  We have extensive experience in launching international hospitality and restaurant concepts in the United States.
Members of our team work closely with our clients to provide cost-effective, practical and efficient legal service in matters related to the launch, management and growth of their businesses, as well as the protection of assets and alleviating risk and liabilities.
Our clients consistently draw upon our experience in the following areas: 
Hospitality & Alcoholic Beverage Industry
  • Consultation on hospitality concepts and models
  • Selection of viable location
  • Structure and formation of business
  • Obtain all necessary licenses and permits, including but not limited to a liquor license issued by the New York State Liquor Authority, cabaret permit issued by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, sidewalk café permits issued by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, and Food Establishment permit issued by the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.
  • Representation before New York City Community Boards, towns and villages, and New York State Liquor Authority Board
  • Defense of Alcoholic Beverage Controls Laws; Rules and Regulations of the New York State Liquor Authority; Health Department, Building Department, Department of Transportation and Environmental Code violations
  • Obtain wholesale and importer permits and register alcoholic beverage labels with US Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau
Corporate & Business Law
  • Negotiation of contracts and financial participation: shareholder, investor and limited liability company (LLC) agreements; license agreements - restaurant and hotels, management agreements - restaurants and hotels; publishing agreements (cookbooks, hotel histories and photographic collections); franchise agreements, vendor, production and supply agreements 
  • Business transactions: partnership formations, acquisitions, financing, banking 
  • Acquisition, sale or transfer of businesses and business assets 
Intellectual Property Law
  • Trademark and trade name investigation, registration and defense 
  • Copyright protection of logos and menus 
  • Trade secret protection of brands and proprietary products 
Real Estate, Zoning and Environmental Law
  • Local, state and federal land use and zoning ordinances, including building code and sanitation requirements 
  • Commercial leasing and real estate acquisition 
  • Landlord/Tenant disputes 
  • Premises liability
Labor & Employment Law 
  • Employment contracts and agreements, including non-compete agreements, and employee disputes 
  • Federal and State law compliance and defense, including employment law litigation, wage and hour litigation, labor relations and labor litigation and management compliance training 
Our Group is headed by Kevin B. McGrath and includes Noreen P. Healey, Former Commissioner of the New York State Liquor Authority.  During her six year tenure as Commissioner, she was appointed by Governor George Pataki to Chair a Taskforce for the review of the State Liquor Authority’s licensing process for restaurant liquor license applications.  She worked with leaders in the industry to recommend changes to the Authority’s licensing application process.  Most recently, she was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve on the Governor’s Working Group to recommend changes to the New York Alcoholic Beverage Control Laws.  She worked with the State Liquor Authority and other industry leaders to modernize, consolidate and reorganize existing liquor laws.
Our restaurant and hospitality clients reap the benefits of having access to attorneys in related practice disciplines within our firm who are experienced in other areas of law, including general and specialty Litigation, Arbitration, Product Licensing, Tax, ERISA & Employee Benefits, Immigration, Fashion, and Technology.

Attorneys practicing in this area:

Alan Behr
Monte Engler
Helene M. Freeman
Noreen P. Healey
Carl D. LeSueur
Kathryn T. Lundy
Kevin B. McGrath
David A. Pellegrino