Retail, Food & Beverage

For more than 25 years, AlvaradoSmith’s lawyers have helped clients across the highly competitive retail and food & beverage industries position themselves for success. We work with regional grocery stores, independent and chain restaurants, franchisors and franchisees, retailers, alcoholic beverage manufacturers and distributors, and a wide range of service businesses to set up and run their companies, solve complex business and legal problems, and defend their rights in disputes and litigation.

Clients rely on our practical approach and plain-English communication to make decisions and set strategies: we help them understand their legal obligations, stay abreast of regulatory and statutory developments (in particular those that require modifications to long-standing practices and procedures), and avoid litigation through innovative solutions to unexpected disputes.

Pragmatic and creative, our lawyers have particular strengths helping clients navigate this rapidly evolving sector. We ease the online transition for traditional brick-and-mortar merchants, assisting them with data privacy and security and vendor and cloud computing contracts. We help restaurants and grocery stores renegotiate leases and restructure debt to remain competitive in the face of ever-narrowing margins.

Contracts and Licensing

We draft and negotiate contracts that minimize risk and maximize benefits, and obtain and maintain a variety of federal, state, and local government permits and licenses. We work with clients to ensure compliance with state and federal employment and occupational safety laws, civil rights, wage and hour rules, zoning, real estate, and other regulations.

Intellectual Property

We help our retail, food, and beverage clients protect the integrity of their brands through comprehensive intellectual property strategies that identify and perfect IP rights and assert and defend those rights in the U.S. and around the world.

Ongoing Operations

We counsel our clients on every phase of their business’ life-cycle, from preliminary due-diligence when setting up a new location – Is the property zoned for the intended use? Can they obtain necessary permits and exclusive rights? Can neighboring tenants restrict their proposed use of the site? – to customer service, advertising and marketing, data security and privacy, licensing and distribution, and a broad range of other operating and strategic issues.

Significant representations include:

  • Negotiating and drafting all real estate leases and purchase agreements for a long-standing client that builds and operates a chain of fast-food Mexican restaurants located in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Our client currently operates nearly 20 restaurants and has several others in the pre-development and construction stages.
  • Successfully represented a large regional grocery distributor with respect to a grade separation project that resulted in the loss of all direct access to a public street. Under AlvaradoSmith’s advice, the client engaged in a right to take trial that significantly improved its chances of prevailing in the dispute. The valuation portion of the claim was tried to a jury and the firm obtained a recovery for the grocery distributor that was approximately ten times the original offer for damages.
  • The Firm represented an international dietary supplement distributor in a cross-border employment litigation matter, related to claims arising out of a breach of an employment agreement. AlvaradoSmith removed this action to the United States District Court for the Central District of California, based on diversity of citizenship jurisdiction. The matter was dismissed by the federal court and upheld by California’s 9th Circuit.
  • Represented an overseas seller of computer products in a Federal court jury trial and received jury verdict of approximately $1,000,000 for recovery of the value of products sold to U.S. company purchaser.
  • Representation of the U.S. subsidiary of an international supermarket chain to prepare the business for what became a successful $20 million sale of the U.S. operations, including resolving employment matters, drafting and negotiating contracts and settling contract disputes, and responding to various licensing and regulatory matters including anti-bribery and corruption compliance issues.
  • Managing and protecting the trademark portfolios of multiple entities, such as a large, privately held surfwear company, a restaurant and brewery, and a holding company for a regional supermarket chain catering to the Hispanic market, including resolving disputes and handling oppositions.
  • Manage trademark portfolios for clients in the restaurant, brewery, distillery and retail industries which includes trademark prosecutions and oppositions before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, multiple U.S. District Courts, and international registrations.
  • Ongoing representation of U.S. divisions of a Mexican company, which imports beef from Mexico for American restaurants and retailers. Under the legal and business guidance of our lawyers, the company has grown from $500 to $750 million in annual revenue, and expanded exports to countries across the globe.

Our Retail, Food & Beverage industry practice includes:

  • Alcoholic Beverage Control
  • Franchise and Distribution Agreements
  • Advertising and Promotional Contracts
  • Succession Planning, Corporate Structuring and Tax Matters
  • Food Truck Operations
  • Employment Counseling and Litigation
  • Financing
  • Intellectual Property
  • Litigation
  • Real Estate