Key Facts

The hospitality industry is one facet of the service industry and can broadly be described as including accommodations (such as hotels), food and drink (restaurant and bars) and tourism and travel. 

What do hospitality lawyers do?

The hospitality sector from a legal perspective can be divided into three key categories: 


  • acquisitions - i.e. one company buying another - think a hotel buying another hotel or a hotel buying a restaurant to incorporate restaurant facilities into its offering or a restaurant buying a bar etc 

  • sales - again, as above. The acquisitions and sales of businesses can be of a single asset of the business or a large portfolio of assets. 

  • investments - a company/business/high net worth individual buying into a business as a means of investments (this could be via a proportional share purchase) 

  • mergers - two or more companies being merged together 


The sales and acquisition work could involve multiple teams across the law firm such as:

  • the corporate team to manage the project and do the due diligence work to make sure the business or asset being bought is worth the money and risk

  • the employment team to advise and negotiate the transfer of employees across businesses 

  • the property team to deal with any transfer of property assets

  • the commercial team to review any material contracts for risks and key issues 

Operational Issues

  • licensing - advising on the grant of licences to use premises, varying those licences and dealing with any disputes arising from licences 

  • commercial.- advising on operating leases, franchise agreements, venue hire agreements, management agreements, supply contracts, distribution agreements, supply agreements and joint venture agreements

  • intellectual property - putting appropriate agreements and protections in place, advising on issuing licences to third parties to use IP and dealing with IP related disputes 

  • real estate - dealing with rent review provisions and service charges in business leases

  • employment - advising on day to day HR issues such as discrimination related claims and disputes, zero hours contracts, TUPE and termination, national minimum wage and working time regulations 

  • health and safety - advising on risk mitigation and corporate/personal responsibilities 


  • advising on intellectual property disputes (other businesses / individuals using an organisation's branding or other IP)

  • customer complaints 

  • advising on escalated service complaints and advising and assisting on court litigation 

  • advising on issues with suppliers and distributers and breaches of contracts generally