Restaurant, Lodging and Hospitality Law

Blending many of our firm’s core practices, Morningstar Law Group’s Restaurant, Lodging and Hospitality Law Practice serves local, regional, national and international clients, including:

  • Individual restaurateurs and franchisees
  • Early-stage and established restaurant and brewery companies
  • Multi-site restaurant groups and chains
  • Hoteliers
  • Breweries
  • Investors
  • Real estate developers

Our hospitality law group serves clients by anticipating legal issues and providing strategic advice regarding organization, capital raising, deal structuring, negotiation, implementation, operations and disputes.

Among the areas where Morningstar regularly advises clients on hospitality law are:

Corporate Transactions

  • Entity selection and formation
  • Joint venture, investment and participation structures
  • Private securities offerings
  • Secured and unsecured debt financings
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Commercial and vendor contracts

Real Estate Transactions

  • Leasing on behalf of landlords and tenants
  • Acquisition, disposition, and financing (construction and permanent) of individual properties and multi-property portfolios
  • Horizontal and vertical mixed-use development


  • Drafting, negotiating and enforcement of employment contracts
  • Compensation and stock agreements
  • Confidentiality agreements
  • Non-compete agreements for key staff
  • Onsite training programs for management and human resources personnel
  • Guidance regarding employment actions, employment policies and practices, and compliance with anti-discrimination, harassment and family leave laws
  • Wage and hour issues
  • Employee safety regulations
  • Labor relations and union avoidance strategies


  • Alcoholic beverage licensing
  • Compliance and regulatory issues.

Intellectual Property/IT Agreements

  • Trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, privacy law
  • Selection, clearance and registration of trademarks
  • Preparation and negotiation of license agreements
  • IT services agreements
  • Trademark License Agreements
  • Software license agreements
  • Managed hosting agreements
  • IT outsourcing agreements

Promotions and Advertising

  • Advertising
  • Customer loyalty programs and retail promotions, including
    • Coupons
    • Rebates
    • Giveaways
    • Gift cards
    • Loyalty promotions
    • Contests, sweepstakes and games of chance

Zoning and Land Use.

All aspects of zoning and land use processes within local jurisdictions, including

  • Development entitlements
  • Permitting
  • Rezoning
  • Site plans
  • Special use permits

We also advise clients on how to navigate the federal and state regulatory framework applicable to projects such as the Coastal Area Management Act, Endangered Species Act, and national register districts.

We have substantial experience with public-private partnerships, which has helped achieve financial feasibility for clients on certain projects.

Dispute Resolution and Litigation

Litigation avoidance and dispute resolution, including representation of clients before regulatory agencies and in federal and state courts.

Morningstar’s business attorneys are highly active in many hospitality industry-focused organizations, where we routinely make presentations and serve as speakers, including the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA), International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), and Urban Land Institute (ULI)

The legal issues the hospitality industry faces are vast and often complex. Morningstar Law Group’s multidisciplinary hospitality law team is well-suited to provide a full range of integrated legal services that meet the demands of an ever-evolving industry.

Our hospitality attorneys are:

For more information, please contact Gene Jones or Michael Ovsievsky.

Raleigh Office       Durham Office
919.590.0370         919.590.0364