Celebrity chef embroiled in breach of contract lawsuit

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Celebrity Chef Embroiled In Breach Of Contract Lawsuit

A celebrity chef, Richard Hales, is suing his former hotel employer after being let go. The hotel claims that they fired the chef from their in-house restaurant, Bird & Bone, for poor performance. Mr. Hales disagrees, and claims that he was shocked by the firing because Bird & Bone was having a lucrative year. As a result, he filed a $30,000 breach of contract lawsuit against the hotel company in late April.

The hotel, on the other hand, claims they canceled the chef’s 12-year contract for “non-performance.” The hotel plans on doing something different with the Bird & Bone space after normal operations resume. Even the Bird & Bone Instagram has been deleted.

Mr. Hales owns the Grateful Hospitality culinary company that operates popular spots: Blackbrick Chinese, Sakaya Kitchen, and Society BBQ. New Jersey residents have likely seen him on multiple TV shows, including Guy’s Grocery Games, Beat Bobby Flay, The Great Food Truck Race, among many others.

As part of his breach of contract lawsuit, he is alleging that the restaurant’s name, Bird & Bone, is his intellectual property. Mr. Hale claims that he created and licensed the name, and then made the restaurant a success. This litigation shows that even arguably successful business contracts can fall into dispute.

When these types of conflicts arise – as they unfortunately can in any line of business – how Haddonfield business owners respond matters. Small business law and contract disputes are time-consuming and costly, especially when litigation is needed.

This is why crafting a legal strategy early can make all the difference, and it is why consulting professionals before entering into a contract can help prevent these disputes. Effectively designing contracts and negotiating corporate transactions with an eye on avoiding litigation can save businesses thousands, sometimes millions.


Michael Ritigstein is a Founding Partner of the firm concentrating his efforts in supporting the firm's litigation, corporate and estate matters. Mr. Ritigstein graduated from the University of Delaware in 1996 and Seton Hall University School of Law in 2000. In 2007 he received a Masters of Law in Taxation with a concentration in Estate Planning, from Temple University's Beasley School of Law.

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