making your restaurant prosper

Whether you’re currently operating a restaurant, planning new construction or a grand opening, buying a franchise, securing financing, evaluating or remodeling a pad site location, or investing in a new venture, Lerch Early’s team of attorneys guides you through the process and minimizes the high risk restaurateurs face in the competitive Washington, DC region hospitality industry.

Lerch Early serves as your outside general counsel–drafting corporate documents, facilitating debt or equity financing, or negotiating the successful purchase or sale of a location, as well as advising on the day-to-day issues of operating a restaurant. Our business services for restaurants include entity formation (LLCs, corporations and partnerships), partner agreements, business documents, contract review, loan negotiation and documentation, borrower’s counsel, tax services, buying and selling restaurants, franchise agreements, food and beverage agreements, and risk management and dispute resolution.

Getting and maintaining a liquor license is essential to most restaurants. Lerch Early attorneys work closely with local and state agencies in Maryland, with the Alcohol Beverage Control and Advisory Neighborhood Commissions in the District of Columbia, and with the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control.

With a host of hourly workers, restaurateurs face a range of employment and labor issues. Our employment attorneys represent management in hiring, directing, compensating, disciplining, and, when needed, terminating restaurant employees. We help restaurants with both compliance and claims. These include wage hour issues, discrimination, harassment, overtime, tip credit issues, wrongful discharge, and labor issues, including unionization and collective bargaining.

Restaurant real estate is a major key to the profitability of a restaurant. Whether you’re a national restaurant chain or a local restaurateur, Lerch Early attorneys help you achieve the most from your real estate from zoning approvals to build out, borrowing, and common ongoing lease issues. Our services include restaurant leasing negotiation, documentation, and review (both retail and ground), construction contracts, real estate financing, buying and selling property, zoning evaluation, due diligence and approvals, remodeling approvals and easements, and pad site approvals.

We vigorously represent restaurants in all types of litigation, including defending against employment claims, prosecuting and defending landlord-tenant disputes, and resolving contract issues through mediation and in the courts.