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1. With Keith McNally and Tom Colicchio both opening restaurants in the Beekman Hotel, it seems as if restaurants in hotels have become a hot trend. What are your thoughts? Coincidence that the NYC Hospitality Alliance has teamed up with the HX Show?
Not a coincidence at all. As I’ve highlighted in past columns the food and beverage market in hotels is booming, so it makes perfect sense that we’ve teamed up with the HX Show. Whenever I speak with restaurateurs who operate within hotels they tell me how important it is to have a great working relationship with the hotel operator.
Our partnership with the HX Show will bring restaurateurs, nightlife operators and hoteliers together under one roof to see and discuss the products, services and trends influencing our collective industry, so it will inevitably strengthen those industry bonds. And not only will the chef demos and panel discussions be exciting and interesting but by partnering with the show we hope to encourage even more business relationships.
2. Has The Alliance issued any important industry alerts recently that restaurateurs and nightlife operators should be aware of?
Yes. Our counsel Rob Bookman brought to our attention that there is widespread unawareness in the hospitality industry of a NYS State Liquor Authority requirement about changes in a business’s owners or investors. Under the law, businesses with an SLA license are required to notify and obtain approval from the SLA for any change in the business’s owners or investors, no matter how small.
This requirement applies regardless of the size of ownership percentage or number of management responsibilities. Changes in minority owners, small investors, and corporate officers all require notifying the SLA and obtaining approval before the change takes place.
Here are some examples of situations that many licensees believe are minor, but do require prior SLA approval: Taking on a new investor who has no management responsibilities whatsoever, buying out an investor who had a very small interest in the business, selling a minority interest in the business to new LLC members, transferring shares of the company and changing LLC managers.
If any of these changes have been made or you plan to make them we highly recommend you speak with your liquor license attorney. Or feel free to contact me and The Alliance and Rob Bookman are more than happy to provide you additional information.