Restaurants/Hospitality

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Thompson & Knight attorneys have for decades represented such restaurant and hospitality industry clients as independent operators; franchisees; franchisors; regional, national, and international chains; industry trade organizations; operating councils; and management companies. Several of our clients are nationally known companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange, or NASDAQ, and many more are privately held family businesses that have grown and prospered for generations with our guidance and help.

Our services to restaurant and hospitality clients combine comprehensive general corporate counsel with advice on concerns specific to the industry. We advise on transactional issues involving finance, acquisitions, sale/leasebacks, divestitures, and taxation, including those related to the purchase, sale, and leasing of facilities and real estate. We are extremely knowledgeable on franchising and franchisor relations, disputes, and antitrust issues. Our clients are labor-intensive service operations, and we help them with all aspects of labor and employment, employee benefits, and executive compensation. We advise hospitality companies on marketing, advertising, and signage, and help them protect their trademarks, copyrights, service marks, and other intellectual property. Our attorneys give highly skilled counsel on regulatory, public policy, and government relations issues, particularly those involving permits and licenses. And we offer comprehensive litigation and other dispute resolution services (including negotiation, mediation, and arbitration) that focus on unique industry concerns of premises liability, dram shop liability, and identity theft.

We obtain liquor licenses and assist with regulatory hearings and filings for numerous national publicly and privately held restaurant and hotel chains. We have exceptional knowledge of liquor licensing throughout the State of Texas, where rules may differ from one side of the street to the other. For example, we help clients set up the appropriate entity to hold the liquor license and prepare agreements between that entity and the landlord or tenant. When a client wishes to do business in a dry area, we form a Texas nonprofit entity and prepare the appropriate, specialized agreement that this entity must maintain in accord with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. We have assisted clients with numerous "charge in control" transactions that affect their restaurant and hotel's liquor licenses throughout the state. Our attorneys have many years of good working relationships with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and other people, agencies, and governing bodies that regulate and approve beverage license applications, and our clients benefit from that experience.

Thompson & Knight has helped develop hundreds of restaurants, resorts, malls, and mixed-use properties. Our attorneys are skilled at acquiring, developing, selling, zoning, licensing, and leasing ground space and retail space, as we work with real estate developers, landlords, tenants, and state and city governmental agencies. We handle even the most complex project finance, zoning, land use, and environmental concerns, and take care of operational details like negotiation, preparation, and review of leases, licenses, purchase and sale contracts, and sale/leaseback agreements.