Category Archives: Legal

Our bars know the lesson United Airlines is about to learn.

“Back in the Day” bars had bouncers. If a patron “mouthed off,” interfered with business, got into a spat with a regular, or numerous other offenses, we threw them out, by force if necessary. “You had to be tough” in our business. Then somewhere around 2000 we realized we were spending a lot of our days off going to court!

It was then the ultimately wise operations leaders in our company developed a security policy which placed the highest priority on avoiding violence. Forget being “right.” Forget ego. If someone is running away, let them go. If there’s immediate violence, surround a perpetrator to diffuse – strength in numbers. Cameras everywhere. Up the security staff. Stop hiring big tough guys and hire savvy normal guys who can defend themselves, but also grew up having to talk their way out of situations now and then. We stopped having bouncers and started having hosts.

We asked the question: do we want to be “right,” possibly have staff get hurt in a fight, and spend our days off in court? Or do we want to put ego aside and do whatever we can to diffuse situations creatively and be done with it? Our leadership decided on the second option and it was one of the smartest things we ever did. Injuries and lawsuits plummeted for our group, and insurance rates stayed in line.

United Airlines, Republic Airlines (the actual carrier operating the plane within the United system) and even the O’Hare Airport Police are waking up today wishing they didn’t have to deal with the disaster of yesterday’s videotaped assault of a passenger to remove them from the plane. As we learned in our business, it doesn’t really help if you’re “right” when you still have to clean up a huge, expensive mess.

Perhaps if the authorities involved adopted a policy that before using any force (except in immediate physical threats) the Captain is notified, everyone stands down, and there is a meeting of the minds on how to otherwise solve a problem. On a plane, like a ship, the Captain is the ultimate authority and can make virtually any call. Captains should be trained to be creative and not enforce rules mindlessly to the detriment of all. I’m sure United wishes someone would have just offered more money for a volunteer until someone could not resist taking their invitation to get “bumped.” It would be a lot cheaper than what’s going to happen now!

Any threat of force in a business needs to be seriously and creatively evaluated before moving forward! It’s not about who is “right,” it is about what’s best in the situation, short term and long term. We think of business creativity as innovation on a conceptual level, but it’s needed in all parts of any enterprise in order to avoid disasters.

Ego and rigid rules are dangerous to a business! Smart and flexible is a road to success.

There are still a lot of “old school” bars out there. Anyone who needs help updating their customer service – that’s one of the services offered at A-List Marketing! Reach out anytime and let’s talk.



Rolling Stone Says It No Longer Trusts Woman in Gang Rape Account

Wow. I guess those old inconvenient principles of “evidence,” “due process,” and “innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt,” are still the best policies.

I’m a long time fan of Rolling Stone but when reporting you don’t “trust” people, you always verify and think critically!


The magazine that published a detailed account of a gang rape at the University of Virginia said Friday that it no longer considers the woman behind the story to be a reliable source.

Rolling Stone‘s vivid depiction of a gang rape suffered by a woman it called “Jackie” at a fraternity house drew national headlines and renewed conversations about sexual assault on college campuses. The magazine apologized to readers about the story Friday.

“In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced,” managing editor Will Dana wrote in a note to readers.

MORE: No police investigation yet in UVA rape case

The story has come under growing scrutiny after its author acknowledged not contacting the men accused of wrongdoing.

“We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame…

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A Nasty Lawsuit at Chicago Hot Spot “The Purple Pig.”

One of the hazards of the cash-based and personality-driven restaurant and bar business are disputes over money, accounting, and partnership agreements. This scandal at the Purple Pig is a prime example to learn from, involving some of the biggest restaurant players in Chicago.

Opening or operating a bar or restaurant?  Got partners?  Want to set up partnerships, management companies or LLCs?  Leverage the expertise of A-List Marketing and you could save yourself problems like this in your future.  Contact us for a free strategy session …

Here’s the Purple Pig saga, thanks to Peter Frost of Crain’s Chicago Business.


#Chicago #Food #Business #Crains #Legal #News

Molly Glynn’s husband sues over actress’ death

Excessive litigation. The solution costs nothing — any defendant in a civil action should have the same right to a bench trial as a defendant in a criminal trial. This would discourage many jury-baiting sad but not negligent tales from ever making it to court, while not threatening legitimate civil cases. Judges will more frequently make a more fact based, less emotional call in death and injury civil cases.
I am not saying there is no case here; I don’t like to judge anything without the facts. But a tree blowing over in a storm is most likely not a matter of government negligence.

In the bar/restaurant business, as well as any retailer, unwarranted suits are a plague.  We are targeted by scammers and sought out as “deep pockets” in lawsuits where we are only tangentially involved.
Whether this Molly Glynn suit is justified or not, a defendant’s right to a civil bench trial is obviously a fair play and would lead to a better justice system.


The freak accident that killed actress Molly Glynn has spawned a lawsuit.

Glynn, 46,  was killed in September when a tree fell on her while she was riding a bike in a north suburban forest preserve.

The tree was uprooted by a wind gust as a storm moved in.

A lawsuit filed by Glynn’s husband, Joe Foust,  claims the Cook County Forest Preserve District failed to keep the area clear of dead or dying trees.

A spokesman for the district says it doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

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Is “Blurred Lines” a Marvin Gaye Rip Off?

This will be a fascinating case for those of us interested in music and copyright law.

Beyond the facts of the infringement case, it also has historical and moral overtones, highlighting the question:  When and how does artistic influence and inspiration become exploitation and theft?  It goes back to the genesis of rock and roll when white singers would remake black songs to get on race-segregated radio.

Is “Blurred Lines” a Marvin Gaye Rip Off?  Is Rock and Roll/Pop a R&B/Blues ripoff?  There’s no clear answer but it sure can be a stimulating and enlightening cultural debate.

I guess there’s quite a few “blurred lines…”

Isleybrostwist pc





Jimmy John’s Non-Compete Employee Agreements – Fair or Unfair?

A variety of recent articles report Jimmy John’s Subs requires all employees, even line workers and drivers, to sign an agreement not to work for any competing sandwich shop for 2 years after working for Jimmy John’s.  I have been getting some questions on email and social media looking for my take on this as a F&B business person.

The reality is that in most states a non-compete for workers other than management or technical specialists is not enforceable.  There’s a long history of rulings that non-competes can’t be used to prevent someone from making a living with skills they learned working at a company after they quit or are terminated.  I can’t imagine that Jimmy Johns corporate legal and HR staff would not know this.  So the most likely explanation for the existence of the non-compete clause is simply intimidation, to scare employees from leaving for another sandwich shop.  Low level employees don’t have the money to even consider any legal defense, so just the threat of even an illegitimate non-compete clause will almost always be enough to intimidate the worker.

Whether the existence of this clause is an unfair and objectionable move on the part of Jimmy John’s depends on if you think it’s OK to use employee agreements to scare workers with unenforceable clauses, relying on the worker’s lack of resources to force compliance to a legally and civilly illegitimate demand.

While I am a big admirer of the Jimmy John’s rags to riches success story, I don’t agree with this tactic, and professionally I believe a business would lose more than it would gain in genuine staff loyalty and performance with these types of demands.  Additionally it’s “bad PR” that could hurt a chain’s image with customers when it’s revealed.

Read some more information on this issue, the legal, civil, employment law and public perception aspects here, here and here.


Jimmy John’s Founder John Liautaud built his huge sub sandwich chain starting with a single shop in a garage in Charleston Illinois.


A video reminder for the Bar/Restaurant Business from Ray Rice

I tell my clients that video is free.
Often there’s some resistance to my recommendation to spend as much as it takes to install video monitoring systems with 100% coverage in every bar, restaurant, and other business, in both public and “back of the house” areas, as well as outside the establishment.
I say “video is free” because it pays for itself 100x over in nearly every instance.

I don’t sell video systems so I’m not saying this to make money.

Ray Rice gets a minimal suspension when it’s said he beat his fiancee. When everyone sees a video of him punching her he’s kicked out of the NFL.
When a belligerent customer fights with a doorman and gets punched, it’s “he said she said” in a long expensive court case. When you can pull a video of the lunkhead cold cocking your employee, the case never even gets to court!

Video monitoring systems are free.

A-List Marketing can help with risk management in many areas of the hospitality business.  Save yourself a million dollars in mistakes by having us help you with concept development, building, opening and marketing for the long term!