From quick-service restaurants to fine dining to food trucks, franchising and the restaurant industry are synonymous. The Larkin Hoffman franchise attorneys have decades of experience representing both startup, independent restaurant owners and some of the largest restaurant chains in the U.S.
Our franchise team has been called “the most impressive transactional team in the U.S.”
Our franchise attorneys are consistently ranked among the leading franchise attorneys in the U.S. Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2017), an annual guide identifying the top attorneys and firms in the U.S., called our franchise team “the most impressive transactional team in the U.S.,” as reported by industry sources contacted by Chambers USA.
Expand through franchising
Franchising is the business relationship between a “franchisor” (the party that owns the brand name and is granting the franchise) and a “franchisee” (the party that is obtaining the right to use the brand name at another location). The franchisor permits the franchisee to sell certain food items to consumers under the franchisor’s brand name and recipes in a way that’s consistent with the franchisor’s operating standards, and in return, the franchisee pays fees to the franchisor.
The franchisor licenses its brand name and recipes to the franchisee and provides site selection, training, marketing, and other support services to the franchisee to help the franchisee succeed in operating his or her restaurant and grow the brand as a whole. In return, the franchisee pays to the franchisor one-time and periodic fees (e.g., an initial franchise fee for training, weekly or monthly royalties based on sales, marketing fees, and technology and support fees).
Restaurant owners usually decide to expand through franchising due to lack of time, money, or people. Building out another location requires significant time and cost in finding a suitable site, obtaining government permits and licenses, and construction, as well as ongoing costs of operating a restaurant (wages, taxes, rent, supply costs, etc.) and hiring a suitable manager and employees. Under a franchise model, these tasks and associated costs are incurred by the franchisee, who will often serve as the manager and is therefore motivated as an owner of the restaurant location (and not just an employee).
What we offer
Franchising can be a great way to expand your restaurant to multiple locations, by granting franchisees the right to own, develop, and operate a restaurant using your brand name and decor standards, menu, recipes, ingredient suppliers, and technology systems (such as POS systems).
Here’s a brief overview of what to expect: after an initial franchising consultation, we’ll draft your Franchise Disclosure Document, Franchise Agreement, and other key ancillary contracts. We’ll also file a trademark application and take further steps to protect your intellectual property. Next, we’ll form the franchising company that will act as the franchisor, drawing up any necessary organizational documents. Finally, we’ll handle the state registration process, if needed, and you’ll be ready for business.
Why Larkin Hoffman?
Franchising is a highly regulated form of business in itself and is subject to state and federal laws that affect disclosure and registration of franchise systems, the sale of franchises, and the ongoing relationship with franchisees. Larkin Hoffman is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and existing franchisors navigate the legal complexities of franchising.
We represent franchisors that own full-service restaurants and quick-service chains alike. Over our decades of experience, we’ve found that the vast majority of franchisors can improve and maintain their franchise systems with the help of a restaurant franchise attorney. If you’re a new franchisor, you’ll find yourself in a state of flux as you transition from running your business and selling your products to selling franchises to prospective franchisees. And even if you’ve been franchising for years, you may still find yourself blindsided by developments and best practices in franchising. No matter your situation, you can benefit from stellar legal counsel dedicated to protecting your best interests. That’s where we come in.
From fast food to family dining, we’ve seen it all. Here are just a few of the restaurant brands that we represent:
- Burger King
- Chanticlear Pizza
- Dairy Queen
- Pizza Bell Hop
- Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen
- Sonny’s BBQ
- Tim Horton’s
We offer comprehensive legal services for new franchisors and mature franchisors alike and can assist with a wide range of franchising issues, from your first franchised location to your 100th and beyond. Whether you need help navigating complex legal issues, restructuring your franchise system, or resolving disputes with franchisees, our team of knowledgeable franchise attorneys can guide you.
Grow through franchising
We work with many of the largest restaurant chains in the U.S. on a variety of franchising matters. Our clients appreciate our business acumen and knowledge of the latest developments in franchising and the restaurant industry, from food trucks and mobile delivery by third party services or aggregators to data privacy and PCI issues to joint employer liability. Our attorneys are frequent authors and annual speakers at the largest franchising conferences and participate in franchise task forces that draft franchise laws adopted by the states. We are committed to building knowledge about franchising beyond legal formalities and requirements.
Renewal & Registration
Creating a franchise system isn’t a one-time occurrence—state and federal law require you to update your Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) at least annually. Larkin Hoffman’s experienced franchise lawyers can work with you to prepare and update your FDD, Franchise Agreement, and ancillary contracts for annual renewals. And while these documents are critical to the continued operation of your franchise, that’s not all we do; we also provide legal counsel based on the latest developments in franchise law, industry changes, and evolving best practices to ensure that your franchise is operating at its best.
Our experienced restaurant franchise attorneys can also advise you on the legal requirements for selling franchises and other relevant areas of franchisee relations. We offer both formal and informal training on the proper marketing of the franchise offerings and can train you or your sales personnel in what can or cannot be said during the sales process. And if you have a potential franchisee who is trying to negotiate the terms of the Franchise Agreement, we can also work with you to determine which terms are negotiable. Our attorneys also have your back—we help restaurant franchisors enforce their systems and menus, and if needed, terminate non-compliant franchisees.