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NJBIZ: Food and Beverage in New Jersey

April 4, 2016

Catherine Wells and Gemma Giantomasi were quoted in a NJBIZ article titled "Food and Beverage in New Jersey: So You Want to Open a Restaurant." The article, published on April 4, 2016, discusses issues that restauranteurs might overlook when considering opening an establishment.

In order to protect your business from the start, Catherine suggests, “If there are multiple people involved in the business, having an operators or shareholders agreement at the formation of the business can help delineate rights and responsibilities of partners and members so you can minimize the risk of disputes down the road. It can set forth the percentage of the business each person owns, who is responsible for what aspects of the business, how decisions are made, how profits are distributed and the manner in which to dissolve the business. (Also), depending upon the concept of the restaurant, you may want to trademark the name, copyright certain aspects of the menu or take additional steps to protect recipes, such as requiring employees to sign confidentiality agreements or otherwise take precautions to ensure that your recipes constitute trade secrets. Indeed, the use of confidentiality, nonsolicitation or restrictive covenant agreements can afford greater protection in circumstances where, for instance, a sous chef leaves your restaurant — such agreements would protect the restaurateur from potential attempts to start a restaurant with a similar theme or menu and prevent the poaching of other staff.”

Site selection is another consideration when opening a restaurant, according to Gemma, “If your location is within 200 feet of a church or a school, you will need an annual waiver from those institutions in order to have a liquor license in that location. In Hoboken, for example, you are not allowed to have a liquor license within 500 feet of another liquor license. All those licenses on Washington Street are grandfathered in, to bring a new license into that area is virtually impossible. Newark has a rule specifying 1,000 feet, but the city created a zone, the Downtown Family Restaurant and Entertainment District, that includes the area around the arena without a distance requirement in order to grow that downtown area.”

To read the full article, please visit NJBIZ's website. (Subscription required.)