Kyle-Beth Hilfer's Blog (9)

The Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Trademark Applications

Aside from food, menu design, décor, and personable help, a restaurant’s name is its calling card and chief intangible asset. Protecting that name under trademark law is a key part of corporate due diligence. Too many restaurateurs, however, mistakenly believe that seeking trademark protection merely involves filing a form with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). They forego legal counsel, assuming they can secure protection themselves and save some money. In the end, they…

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Added by Kyle-Beth Hilfer on April 9, 2013 at 12:14pm — No Comments

When Food is Dangerous: Hidden Legal Risks on Menus

Every restaurant knows that food can be dangerous. If a chef uses adulterated chicken in a Waldorf salad, he risks his patrons’ health and his restaurant’s reputation. The food a restaurant serves can create less obvious legal risks. Many states regulate offering specific foods, and there is little consistency from state to state. New regulations pop up based on trade association lobbying efforts or the whims of local politicians. The result is a morass of legal regulations that affects…

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Added by Kyle-Beth Hilfer on April 4, 2013 at 8:56am — No Comments

Freedom Fizzles in NYC with Proposed Super Sided Soda Ban

I rarely feel compelled to give my opinion publicly, but this one has me fuming. Mayor Bloomberg of New York City wants to ban supersized soda and sugary beverages sold at restaurants, delis, food carts, movie theaters, and arenas.  The ban would apply to any container holding more than 16 ounces, and if passed by the NYC’s Board of Health, could go into effect as early as March, 2013. Violators would face fines.

 Truth be told, I do not drink soda, even small serving sizes, and I do…

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Added by Kyle-Beth Hilfer on June 13, 2012 at 8:00am — No Comments

Happy Hour Advertising and Unhappy Legal Complications

A recent study showed that men are more creative when drinking beer. Whether this is true or not, the study may lead to bars and restaurants being more bold in advertising their happy hours. Indeed, restaurants and bars are increasingly turning to social media and mobile campaigns to promote happy hour specials. They may advertise on their websites or their Facebook pages, or they may push messaging via cell phones.

 

Happy hour advertising may seem like a great way to draw in…

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Added by Kyle-Beth Hilfer on April 25, 2012 at 10:30am — No Comments

The Case of the $11 Margarita: Is It Legal to Withhold Menu Prices?

Many restaurants do not disclose the price of specials or cocktails on menus, hoping the impulse to imbibe will sway the customer. Restaurateurs should be aware that this practice has legal risk.

In February, 2012, the Cheesecake Factory announced that it would begin posting drink prices at its Massachusetts locations. This announcement came after a patron’s attorney threatened to sue under the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act (MCPA) because the restaurant charged $11 for a…

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Added by Kyle-Beth Hilfer on March 27, 2012 at 3:18pm — 6 Comments

Ten Legal Errors Restaurants Make in Their Social Media Sweepstakes and Contests

Restaurants frequently market through a sweepstakes or contest on Facebook or other social media. A prize promotion can publicize an updated menu, the opening of a new location, the revamping of a menu, or promote loyalty among followers.

Yet, in their enthusiasm for using this exciting marketing tool, restaurateurs frequently expose themselves to legal risk. Here is a list of ten mistakes that restaurants frequently make in launching a social media prize…

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Added by Kyle-Beth Hilfer on February 22, 2012 at 8:35am — No Comments

Collen IP Hosting Free Webinar for FSMU 2011 Attendees: Legal Issues in Social Media and Mobile Marketing



What: Rewards, Challenges and Legal Risk in Social Media and Online Contests, Sweepstakes and Prize Promotions webinar 

 

When: At your convenience, between December…

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Added by Kyle-Beth Hilfer on November 30, 2011 at 4:08pm — No Comments

How Restaurants Can Draft Social Media Policies to MInimize Legal Risk of an NLRB Complaint

Last week, I discussed how the NLRB’s August, 2011 report on social media investigations has ushered in a a new age of corporate social media policies. We find little solace in the recent administrative law judge ruling that Knauz BMW had fired properly an employee because some of his Facebook posts were not protected (others were). The same ruling also declared the employer’s policy overly broad and ordered the dealer to post a notice…

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Added by Kyle-Beth Hilfer on October 14, 2011 at 7:22am — 8 Comments

The Age of Corporate Social Media Policies 2.0 (aka What the NLRB Did This Summer)

On August 18, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board’s  (NLRB) Acting General Counsel released a report concerning social media cases in the past year.  Anyone involved with developing or enforcing social media policies should read this report, coupled with the September Hispanics United of Buffalo decision. Together, these developments have ushered in a new age in drafting corporate social media policies.

 

There are some misconceptions among employers that the NLRB’s…

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Added by Kyle-Beth Hilfer on October 6, 2011 at 11:12am — No Comments

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DEPARTMENTS

Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries

Smartbrief

Restaurants may feel the pinch of pricier coffee later this year

Prices for arabica coffee futures hit a 26-month high amid a drought in Brazil, which produces a third of the world's coffee  -More

McDonald's rules out all-day breakfast in push to simplify

McDonald's breakfast menu accounts for 25% of the chain's U.S.  -More

Easy ways to use 5 uncommon spring greens

As light, crisp greens arrive at farmers markets and grocery stores, chefs are finding creative ways to add them to spring me -More

JOBS & CAREERS

Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

National Restaurant Association Offers Training DVDs on Harassment Prevention, Social Media Use, and Customer Service

The National Restaurant Association has released three new DVDs that offer best practices in dealing with harassment and discrimination, customer service training, and the first of its kind video guide on the use of social media.

Yum! Brands Reports First-Quarter EPS Growth of 24% Excluding Special Items

China Division System Sales Increased 17% with Operating Profit Growth of 80%; Yum! Reaffirms Full-Year Guidance of at Lea

Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes Certified As Nation's Largest 'Green' Restaurant Chain

National Group Salutes Country's Only Large Restaurant Group to be 'Certified Green Restaurants®'

National Restaurant Association and EatStreet Release Online Ordering Guide

The National Restaurant Association and EatStreet have released a free educational guide focusing on online ordering and emerging restaurant technology trends.

Boyd's Coffee Launches Single-Cup Coffees For Retail And Foodservice

The coffees come in a variety of roast levels and include organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified™ options: French No. 6®, Red Wagon® Organic Coffee, Good Morning™, Hi-Rev® (delivers more caffeine), and Lost Lake™ Decaf Organic Coffee.

CROWD FUNDING

If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.

TED TALKS VIDEO

TED: Hamish Jolly: A shark-deterrent wetsuit (and it's not what you think) - Hamish Jolly (2013)

Hamish Jolly, an ocean swimmer in Australia, wanted a wetsuit that would deter a curious shark from mistaking him for a potential source of nourishment. (Which, statistically, is rare, but certainly a fate worth avoiding.) Working with a team of scientists, he and his friends came up with a fresh approach — not a shark cage, not a suit of chain-mail, but a sleek suit that taps our growing understanding of shark vision.

TED: Michel Laberge: How synchronized hammer strikes could generate nuclear fusion - Michel Laberge (2014)

Our energy future depends on nuclear fusion, says Michel Laberge. The plasma physicist runs a small company with a big idea for a new type of nuclear reactor that could produce clean, cheap energy. His secret recipe? High speeds, scorching temperatures and crushing pressure. In this hopeful talk, he explains how nuclear fusion might be just around the corner.

TED: Sarah Lewis: Embrace the near win - Sarah Lewis (2014)

At her first museum job, art historian Sarah Lewis noticed something important about an artist she was studying: Not every artwork was a total masterpiece. She asks us to consider the role of the almost-failure, the near win, in our own lives. In our pursuit of success and mastery, is it actually our near wins that push us forward?

TED: Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces - Matthew Carter (2014)

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

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