Baltimore Corporate Attorney for Restaurants & Entertainment

Ken C. GauveyPersonal Injury Attorney

Running a restaurant, bar, or night club is a hard job.  It requires attention to detail with regard to the service, but also to health codes, supply purchasing, catering agreements, entertainment contracts, and employee relations.  So many of these areas are not the kinds of things that chefs and owners are expected to have training in, but they are still so important to a restaurant’s survival as a business.
If you are just opening or already running a restaurant or other entertainment venue, whether it is your own project or a franchise, you are going to need a lawyer sooner or later.  Whether you need help with setting up the business entity, you are having trouble with a vendor, or you get sued over an employment issue, a lawyer can help you. In Baltimore, the Law Practice of Ken C. Gauvey can handle all the legal issues your restaurant or entertainment business might experience.

Why Hire a Restaurant or Entertainment Lawyer?

A restaurant is, at its core, a business.  Running a restaurant is harder than most people think it will be when they get started.  You can help make things as easy as possible by laying the proper groundwork for the restaurant.

Protecting yourself from the liabilities of your business by establishing it as a corporation or a limited liability corporation (LLC) may be essential to protecting yourself and your business partners from being personally liable for the restaurant’s debts and accidents.  Making sure that you have all the required state and local certifications to open a restaurant is vital to getting the business off the ground.  Compliance with employment laws helps ensure your employees are happy.  An experienced corporate attorney can help make all of these things work.

When things go wrong, it is important to have someone on your side who can help you fight against your accusers.  To keep your restaurant in business, you need to make sure that contracts with vendors, employees, and catering customers are as strong as they can be.  When these parties fail to uphold their end of the agreement – or accuse you of failing to uphold your end – the right attorney can help you fight these claims and avoid paying settlements or losing money on the contract.

Restaurant Franchise Attorney

Starting a franchise is sometimes even more difficult than starting your own restaurant, due to the rules and contracts involved with the parent company.  Whether it’s a fast food restaurant like Wendy’s or McDonalds, a sit-down restaurant chain, or an in-between lunch counter like Panera Bread, the parent corporations have their own rules and difficulties.  The owner of the franchise may own the restaurant, but the parent company owns all trademarks, branding, and goodwill, leading to confusing issues as to who has control over what.

Without a lawyer to counsel you through the process, you may accidentally set yourself up for a breach of contract with the parent company.  That could mean losing the franchise, or facing contractual penalties.

Employment issues may be difficult, too – especially with regard to whether the franchise or the parent company is responsible for the policy or violation in question.  Protecting yourself from the mistakes of the parent corporation is a requirement of a responsible franchise owner.

Baltimore Entertainment Attorney

Night clubs, dance clubs, bars, gentleman’s clubs – even bowling alleys and concert venues – are all businesses and all face the same kinds of concerns any other business faces.  On top of these, they have their own unique business concerns.  The status of workers, whether as servers, bartenders, models, or other types of employees, might create legal issues you need to sort through.  Disputes between the employer and employees can weigh-down not only the quality of service, but the entire operation of one of these businesses.
Hiring an experienced corporate and business attorney can help you make sure that the proper policies and behaviors are in place from the beginning.  If you are involved in any sort of dispute with your employees, hiring an attorney might be necessary to defend against litigation or other backlash.

Especially when employees are paid mostly via tips, wage and hour disputes are common.  In night club and other settings, servers and other employees may work not only as servers, but also as models or entertainers.  These sorts of issues can run into employment discrimination complaints, which need the experience of a restaurant and entertainment attorney to properly navigate.

What Services can a Corporate Restaurant and Entertainment Lawyer Provide?

Not every restaurant or venue will need all of these services.  No matter what stage of growth your business is in, an experienced business law attorney can help you with any of these services:

  • Formation of your business
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Partnership agreements
  • Filing trademarks and brand names
  • Commercial real estate agreements
  • Vendor contracts
  • Entertainer contracts
  • Employee handbooks
  • Wage and hour disputes
  • Vendor disputes
  • Franchise disputes
  • Buyouts, mergers, and acquisitions
  • Opening a new location

Even if what you need is not on this list, our experienced business lawyers have encountered a wide range of restaurant and business issues, and helped our clients resolve them.

Strong Planning Helps Prevent Problems

Any business, especially one with the stressful day-to-day operations of a restaurant or club, is bound to run into problems.  One of the greatest strengths of a good business attorney is protecting clients from problems from the outset.

Strong agreements, founding documents, and supplier contracts plan for disaster.  Not only should a good lawyer make your agreements enforceable to protect your interests, a good lawyer should also plan for how to handle things when they go wrong.  Our lawyers pride themselves on this forethought, looking toward our clients’ futures, not just the present.

The Law Practice of Ken C. Gauvey works with restaurant, bar, and club owners in the Baltimore area to help them start their business, and keep them going when they run into problems.  Whether you need services to start your restaurant business; get strong contracts for vendors, entertainment, and catering; or to defend yourself in employment disputes, Ken can help.  For a free consultation, call us at 443-692-7685.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.