The hospitality industry presents specific and unique legal challenges, and as your business grows and changes, so will your legal needs. Gentry Locke’s attorneys advise restaurants, hotels, amusement parks, and fitness facilities on a vast range of issues. We serve clients who operate small businesses and national chains.

Headed by Group Chair Paul Klockenbrink, attorneys within Gentry Locke’s Hospitality industry group regularly counsel hospitality industry clients in multiple areas, including, labor and employment, franchise agreements, supplier and vendor contracts, food and beverage licensing, lease negotiations, risk management, claims management, real estate, land use and zoning, tax matters, and premises liability litigation.

Specifically, we provide legal counsel to businesses in the following matters:

  • Employment disputes and litigation including defense of discrimination, harassment and retaliation claimsEEOC charges and administrative proceedings, and the enforcement of non-disclosure and non-compete agreements. We can be there every step of the way, from the litigation stage to the appeals process before agencies and federal and state courts
  • Wage and hour claims including issues involving classification, work time, overtime, tipped employees, split jobs, permissible deductions from pay, DOL audits and child labor
  • Union avoidance and representing employers in unfair labor practice litigation before the NLRB, collective bargaining, and arbitration
  • Consulting and claims management related to guest injury claims
  • Defense of premises liability and intentional tort lawsuits
  • Workers’ compensation claims
  • Employment handbooks, employee contracts, and personnel policies and procedures
  • Employee incentives and fringe benefit plans including 401(k) plans, performance bonuses, stock options (ESOPs), matching contributions, elective deferrals and rollovers
  • Immigration issues including legal requirements of I-9 Forms, and drafting grant proposals for training non-English-speaking immigrant workers for hospitality industry needs regarding language and occupational skills
  • Franchisor/franchisee relationships including preparing, negotiating and reviewing franchise agreements, and assessing and minimizing the risks associated with franchisor control over franchisees’ day-to-day business operations
  • Building code, ASTM compliance, sanitation, and environmental counseling and management
  • Intellectual Property management including trademark registration and conflicts, trade name registration, copyrighting of logo and menu, and trade secret protection of brands and any proprietary products that may be developed and marketed
  • Business organization including forming or restructuring restaurants to shield clients’ potential liability to employees, customers, independent contractors, and other third parties
  • Purchase, sale, or transfer of business assets including property, equipment and inventory
  • Tax issues including government incentives and tax credits
  • Local, state and federal land use and zoning ordinances
  • Negotiating, preparing and reviewing agreements between restaurants and vendors
  • Insurance matters including equipment breakdown, personal property and medical payment coverage, and accounts receivable
  • ABC license and restaurant license applications, counseling on license compliance, and defending alleged license violations


The members of the Hospitality industry group  also have access to resources at the national and international levels through our affiliation with ALFA International’s Hospitality Practice Group. We encourage you to review our Hospitality attorneys’ personal pages for additional information and contact us to discuss your company’s legal needs.

Have questions? Contact us.