Link To Guest Website:

Title: “Legal & Business Issues The Hospitality Industry Faces”
Guest: Al DeNapoli – Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers
Interviewer: Marc Zwetchkenbaum – Marc Z Legal Staffing & Mark Furman – Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers

Click here to read the transcript

Nathan (1s):
Welcome back Radio Entrepreneurs, listeners and fans I’m producer Nathan Gobes filling in for Jeffrey Davis this morning. I’m excited to introduce the two hosts of this segment, a Marc Z of Marc Z Legal Staffing and Mark Furman, Tarlow Breed, Hart, and Rogers. Welcome gentlemen.

Marc (18s):
Thank you, Nathan. Great to be here.

Mark (21s):
Nice to see everybody and thrilled and looking forward to hearing from my partner, Elden, apple. Great.

Nathan (33s):
Our next guest is Al DiNapoli partner at Tarlow Breed Hart and Rogers Al. You’ve been on the show before several times most recently to discuss your, to, to discuss Dave Ravina winery. We’re very excited to have you back to talk about your practice and how that also combines with your experience running the winery.

Al (55s):
I’m glad to be back always nice to see Marc Z and talk with him and because my longtime partner McFarlane, I think we’ve been working together a at Tarlow Breed hat and Rogers for since 1993. If I’m correct mark,

Mark (1m 14s):
January 28th, 1993, but who’s counting

Marc (1m 19s):
Teams like yesterday, right?

Mark (1m 23s):
Think in 1993, I drank L’s wine for the first time. And, and I think about yesterday, I think I have a glass of L’s wine most recently. So

Al (1m 43s):
28 years of drinking my wine and look what it’s done to you. Mac

Nathan (1m 50s):
January 93 was just a few months before I was even born. So I guess this is what I should step out and I’ll let you gentlemen carry the conversation from here.

Marc (2m 1s):
Well, thank thank you, Nathan, and our Great to have you on the show and, and see you mark. And I were talking before the show, you have an unusual background in the, not only are you, you obviously your practice you’re litigator proven one of the best. You also though were very well-respected in the hospitality space. And so you now represent you represent a lot of owners and, and, and people that really are dealing with hospitality related issues during this COVID time, including yourself. And I just thought maybe you could share with the listeners some of the challenges and some of the solutions, you know, you’ve, you’ve gone through during this time.

Al (2m 47s):
I’m glad to do that. If I may. I just like to start with a little bit of background that, you know, when mark and I first worked together, you know, mark stepped in on a litigation department that included myself and one of the part-time litigator, Mike assumed the position quickly as chairman of the litigation department and mark and I have worked closely together on a number of cases. I’m essentially a trial attorney. And I have tried cases in both the district probate in most, mostly in the superior court, both before judges and juries.

Al (3m 27s):
And that’s primarily what I do not unlike mark, mark and I practice areas overlap in that we don’t both do a lot of shareholder disputes, partnership, disputes, general contract disputes, corporate governance issues. And so mark and I, I have worked closely either together on cases or separately, but always sharing the vice and knowledge that we brought to the table in litigation, part of the litigation early on back, even before mark and I started working together in 93, I was asked to settle a dispute with TGI Fridays and their neighbors back in the back bay on Newbury street.

Al (4m 14s):
A young lawyer went down there not knowing what to expect, but knew knowing it was a dispute. And that’s what is do, who do they resolve disputes? I went down there and work things out between the neighbors and management. I went to the hearing that was held with the licensing board and I still represent TGI Fridays to this day in Massachusetts. So something that started just because there was a dispute between neighbors in a restaurant that has blossomed into a practice of hospitality law, which I didn’t really know what I was going to go into, but you know, a lot of things I always talk about life is like a pinball game.

Al (5m 0s):
In some ways you just pull back the lever and the ball goes and bounces here, bounces there. And you’re not really in complete control of the, where it’s going to go as much as you shake the machine. So you don’t avoid it. And it just bounced into the hospitality area. And since I represent TGI Fridays, I thought I could represent a lot of restaurants and I’ve done some with that have grown my practice from restaurants to a lot of hotels in the hospitality area. I’ve represented a cruise line, international cruise line relative to hospitality and a number of things, but not just in the hospitality area. The disputes have taken me all the way to the appeals court relative to issues involving underlying hospitality issues, but more so conflicts between the parties.

Al (5m 51s):
So it has been a, it’s been an interesting involvement. Can I just say something?

Marc (5m 58s):
And this is what leaves us now because your expertise is such is so key, especially to business owners and people involved in the hospitality space with their businesses because of the challenges raised by COVID and just people are looking to go back to restaurants and what I want to be safe. They say, and what are the best aspects to do? Restaurant here is need people back to come back, cruise lines, all different kinds of travel businesses. They’re trying to plan hotels. The, I think I read about one of the major hotels. They’ve only been at 10% capacity. So what are some of the trends that you’re seeing, the importance that you’re seeing in terms of, as you advocate for these businesses and your deal that can hopefully get them back to some kind of normal normalcy that you’re handling in your practice?

Marc (6m 48s):

Al (6m 49s):
The restaurant industry was one of the hottest shit during COVID and not only did I think they, the statement is that a third of restaurants are closed and not coming back. They an outfacing, not only the pressures of the patrons coming in, in having to deal with whether they mask, whether they need to produce vaccination cards, what the situation is, but the restaurants are pre facing chef staffing shortages. So they’re in a double bind. They obviously want to bring in people and certain people still have gone to restaurants.

Al (7m 30s):
Although the facts show that restaurants are not a incubator for COVID for one thing, restaurants have in, through all their existence is dealt with sanitary and health concerns. I mean the whole issues, you know, trying to keep food and drink safe for their patrons. So when COVID hit, they implemented certain things that would protect patrons more than other places. And so what patients still have a susceptible to concerned, I said about what they would be going into, but now they’re also facing staffing shortages.

Al (8m 16s):
So as much as they want to bring in patrons, they faced a lot of times with the staffing shortage that even patrons were coming to the extent that they could, there’s a shortage of staff. So I know places that have cut their hours down, cut two days down considerably because of the staffing shortage. I have places that would love to open in new areas, but we can’t do so because of the staffing shortages. So one of the big things it’s definitely facing restaurants is the staffing problems. And I know that restaurants are working hard to try to bring in people, looking at wages and other benefits.

Al (8m 58s):
And so this is something that, you know, they work with specifically on the legal side of it. I don’t really get involved in, in the staffing issues because that’s more operational, but on the legal side, I deal with many of the things that are happening or legally with the licensing changes in licensing leasing issues. And, you know, I not only have the legal background of working in hospitality for a number of years, but I was a slack meaning my town of Walpole for six years. And as a selectman, we sit as the licensing board for the town.

Al (9m 42s):
So I sat on that side of the bench, as licensees came up to us with the issues that had to be addressed by the license license, always, if you will, and work with them on that end and the alcoholic beverage control commission. And then recently, as you alluded to earlier, myself and my four cousins went into the restaurant business and reopened a winery called deep ravine, a winery in Walpole, Massachusetts. And we opened up in January 20, 22 and a half months before Mr. COVID said too much fun in there. We had to shut down and we had to face all the issues of the COVID restrictions ourselves.

Al (10m 30s):
So it’s, it has been interesting. You’ve given me a vantage point from both the legal, the administrative side as a selectman. And then the operational side is deeper vena winery that I think allows me to bring a unique bit of experience to my clients in the hospitality industry.

Mark (10m 50s):
I, I think that’s an important point that makes, you know, you really unique Al is that you have the perspective of, you know, a seasoned lawyer. I won’t say you’ve been around forever, but you’ve been around for a long time. And, and, and also as a, as a business owner in the hospitality and district, I don’t think there’s a lot of, as many people who have that kind of, you know, experience.

Mark (11m 32s):
And, and I do want to disagree with you, which I, as you know, I like to do from time to time, but it struck me as your reference to, you know, pinball machine and the ball bouncing from here to here struck me as much more random than what it is to develop the kind of a niche you’ve developed in the hospitality industry. So my take is that, you know, you, you build an expertise in a particular area, not by, you know, handling one case, but handling the cases, you have the opportunity to work on in such a way that the people you represent sing your praises to other people in the industry.

Mark (12m 25s):
And one client leads to another client which leads to another client. And that’s what you’ve successfully done through your excellent work for each of your clients to develop this reputation and expertise in the hospitality world. So I’m antique pinball,

Al (12m 51s):
And maybe the analogy doesn’t go as far as, as you’re taking it. But I just bring it up only because entering into, you know, the legal world. When I graduated from law school, I did a clerkship and came out with wanting to be a trial attorney. I never thought that I’d be doing hospitality law in representing restaurants, hotels, cruise ships, and the, like, I wanted to be a trial attorney. I want it to be in the courtroom. I want to stand up in front of a jury. I wanted to argue the cases. And those are still some of the highest points of the legal career that you can ever do is to stand in front of a jury and argue your case. And that’s what I wanted to do.

Al (13m 30s):
So, but the pinball bounce me into hospitality and that’s all like, once you’re there, you need to take it to where it goes. And I’ve been fortunate to be able to have that practice grow and, and take it in different directions. Now, as you said, not only because of all that I’ve done, but my now operations, but also being a select men and working, you know, from that side of the bench, being the license person who has to administer the licenses in the municipality.

Marc (14m 3s):
I mean, now, can I just, can I just say that your expertise and again, as, as you say, you’ve now had so many people come into certain areas that there’s definitely different trails, but you’ve now really garnered in expertise in hospitality and working in, and working with restaurants and, and, and getting licenses and the challenges of working with municipalities to get the licenses and, and to be able to help them operate in a challenging time and, and help advise them in terms of other issues, which they’re going through. So, so thank you for your, your expertise on that and sharing that with some of the issues

Mark (14m 47s):
Folks in the hospitality industry, you know, they have the matters that are unique to their industry, but then they have the same problems that are in every industry, you know, the real estate problems, the leasing problems, they employee problems, you know, the contract problems in general. So Al’s experience and expertise as a business litigate, or is there, but in addition to that, he has this specialized knowledge in the hospitality industry for the problems that are unique to them.

Mark (15m 33s):
And now with his additional piece of this as a business owner in the hospitality industry, it’s just, it’s a great combination.

Marc (15m 46s):
Absolutely. And, and that’s something, again, there’s so many issues now Al that, and, and I think that as, as listener myself and, and as somebody who has a business, it’s so important to have somebody with that experience was in the trenches that as mark said, knows no Zola periphery issues, but also really understands inside and out how this climate is and how to deal with it.

Al (16m 12s):
Yeah. And, you know, and it’s even being a business owner and, you know, hospitality, it gives you that unique looking to the hospitality business, but I’ve never been a business owner. Although, you know, a shareholder in the law firm being a business owner in the trenches like we are in operating and leasing and financing and dealing with customers and dealing with purveyors and whatever brings another unique, you know, sense of, to the business litigation I do too. So I can understand the issues and the pressures that business owners experience on a day-to-day basis.

Al (16m 55s):
And I think I can bring that to my work with him. Right.

Nathan (16m 59s):
Thank you. Thank you Al thank you for sharing your expertise. I’m sure these, these problems and pressures, like you mentioned that the hospitality industry and industries overall are going to be facing will continue to adapt as, as COVID and employment shifts throughout the coming months and into 2022, if listeners or viewers want to get in touch with you at Tarlow Breed, Hart and Rogers, how can they do that? And maybe also give a plug for the winery as well, if people want to find out more about that?

Al (17m 27s):
Well, thank you. Yes. My phone number at the law firm is 6 1 7 2 1 8 2 0 2 4. My email address is a Napoli and it’s probably the best way is to go onto the Tarlow Breed website and pull up my not so handsome face. And it would give all the contact information instead of like, instead of me trying to spell out DeNapoli here, but I certainly can be reached by just plugging that in phone phone, calling me a deep Vino winery is out in Walpole, Massachusetts on route one, and the can be found by just Googling in deep Vino, D E B E V I N O a blend of three families Annapolis.

Al (18m 16s):
Bevilacqua in Arpino who are all family and cousins, and we’re making wine for over 45 years for ourselves. You know, one of the unique things is that the outdoor seating that is going to be an issue as we keep on going on, not only through COVID, but I think through the experiences that restaurant tours and municipalities and customers have seen, that they enjoy the experience of outdoor seating is going to be a challenge to municipalities, to restaurants going forward. And that’s something that is unique and that will continue in every much involved in we’re fortunate that our location is in a large parking lot.

Al (18m 57s):
So we were provided with an opportunity to expand it as much as we could. We’re not encroaching on the municipal new municipalities premises at all. So we have a large tent out to a patio and we have used it, I think, to the benefit of our customers and will continue to do so. So,

Mark (19m 19s):
And let’s also point out that the wine is excellent and reasonably priced.

Al (19m 26s):
We make our own wine grapes directly from Susan valley, which is a little Southeast, and it’s like configures to Napa valley. And there too, you know, you start with a great source of grapes and you can be much better in this country than getting it from Napa valley region. So thank you.

Nathan (19m 46s):
Thank you, Al. And a Mark Furman. How can people reach you at Tarlow Breed Hart and Rogers?

Mark (19m 52s):
I can be reached at M Fermin, F U R M a N at TBHR dash or 6 1 7 2 1 8 2 0 2 5.

Nathan (20m 6s):
Thank you. And Marc Z of Marc Z Legal Staffing. Can people reach you

Marc (20m 11s):
First of all, you can Google Marc Z RC and the letter Z and we’ll come right up or Marc Z Legal MIRC, Z 6 1 7 3 3 8 1 300.

Nathan (20m 23s):
Great. And of course, both of the marks are on our show for regular segments on Radio Entrepreneurs dot com as well as YouTube, Spotify, LinkedIn, and all the other channels we stream on. If anybody wants to get a more in depth or hear a more in-depth conversation about Al’s winery, deep winery, you can also head to any of those places that I just mentioned to find his previous interview that I think was over the summer and find out more about that there in the meantime. Thank you all for listening and joining. This is another segment from Radio Entrepreneurs.

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