In the highly competitive restaurant industry, owners must take steps to protect their proprietary information, such as recipes, techniques, concepts and strategies from theft by former employees. Trade Secrets are any type of information that provides the owner of that information with a competitive advantage as a result of the information not being generally known and readily ascertainable by others.
GENERAL RULE: An owner should protect Trade Secrets with Confidentiality Agreements and take all measures necessary to keep such information secure from disclosure.
Employees who are involved with proprietary information, as well as managers and restaurant executives, should sign confidentiality agreements. In pertinent part, the confidentiality agreement should state the general information that is considered trade secret and should further state that any use or disclosure of this information, other than that specifically allowed by the employer, will be considered a breach of confidentiality and shall subject the employee to legal action and any damages.
As further protection, confidential documents containing recipes, concepts and techniques should be marked “Proprietary and Confidential Information; do not copy or distribute.”
Remind departing employees in writing of their continuing obligation to the confidentiality of the Trade Secrets of your company and have them return all manuals and documents they have in their possession when they leave your employment.
An experienced restaurant employment attorney can draft the appropriate confidentiality Agreement for your specific establishment and can develop a program for you to implement which will maximize your chances that such information will remain confidential and be classified as Trade Secret.
National Safety Council statistics establish that more people are injured in America in slip-and-fall situations than in any other accident scenario.
GENERAL RULE: The owner of a restaurant or bar where such injuries occur is not automatically legally responsible for the consequences of a slip and fall on his/her premises. Proof must be adduced by the plaintiff to establish that: (1) a dangerous condition was created or permitted by the defendant to remain for an unreasonably long time; and (2) the defendant had notice of its existence during such time and failed to take reasonable measures to remove it or to prevent the accident. If you have insurance coverage, notify your carrier immediately upon learning of the incident.
As such, the mere occurrence of the injury does not suffice to impute liability to the restaurant owner. Rather, recent cases have alerted plaintiff’s counsel that in order to prevail in their slip and fall cases, they must prove the specific instrumentality causing the fall, the location and causation of the accident, and specifics of the time frame when the hazard was created; it must also be proven that the defendant had actual or constructive notice of its existence (i.e. that they knew or had reason to know of it). Regardless of the difficulty in successfully bringing forth a slip and fall case, restaurant owners are strongly advised to have this contingency covered via careful periodic inspections of the premises and an insurance policy encompassing this type of liability. The increased insurance premium will be nominal compared to the damages that can, and have been, awarded to successful slip and fall plaintiffs.
The New York City Mayor’s Office published a terrific guide that should be read by all indiviudals that own, or plan to own, a restaurant in NYC. Its a terrific resource for the basics of NY restaurant ownership. Here’s the link to the guide: