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Recent Business Law Articles
"Dealing With Negative Net Worth"
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By Dennis L. Monroe

One of the big issues for restaurants trying to secure financing is the problem of having negative equity on the balance sheet. Restaurants are notorious for running into this type of situation. In many cases accelerated depreciation and flow through entities are not conducive to increase in equity after the initial investment.

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“Common Questions About Copyright Law"
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By James A. Wahl

What Is Protected Under Copyright Law?

Copyright law protects original works of authorship, such as writings, songs, artwork, photographs, and computer code.  Names, slogans, and short phrases are not copyrightable; these are protected by trademark law.
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“See Further” When Facing New Business Legal Matters"
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By James A. Wahl

Starting a new business is demanding.  A variety of challenges – sales, marketing, setting up an office, staffing, etc. – take priority.   It may be tempting for the entrepreneur to push legal concerns aside in favor of focusing time and energy on tasks that are essential to getting the business off the ground.  

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"Gift Cards"
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By Dennis L. Monroe

This month we are going to discuss a very relevant topic in the whole multi-retail arena: gift cards and gift certificates.  More and more franchise establishments are using gift cards, and they are becoming increasingly important for specialty shops and restaurants.    

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Compensation Options For Key Employees
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By Dennis L. Monroe
Retaining and rewarding key employees is a challenge for franchise businesses.  As a result of basic retirement benefit rules (which apply to qualified plans), many key employees do not receive the full benefits from traditional 401(k) plans or other qualified plans.  This issue, in large part, is caused by the large number of hourly workers in many franchise businesses, turnover and other employment issues that may make traditional contributor plans unmanageable. 
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All Company Valuations Are Not Created Equal
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By Dennis L. Monroe
“What is the value of my company?” is a question I am frequently asked.  In the franchisor world (whether it be franchisors or franchisees), we usually focus on a multiple of earnings.  In recent times the multiple of earnings have been going up; and there has been a feeding frenzy as it relates to the purchase of franchise companies.
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“Accounting Rules Do Matter"
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By Dennis L. Monroe
Providing effective financing ideas to franchise companies is a goal of this column. A key element in obtaining financing is strong, clear and concise financial statements. Recently, certain accounting issues have surfaced which have an affect on the multi-unit retail and franchising world. While these issues have emerged in the public sector, they do have very important ramifications for the private sector.
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"A New View For Compensation Planning"
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By Dennis L. Monroe
As we all know, compensation is the number one expense in a franchise business. One of the trends in compensation, particularly in this sector, has been to keep base salaries fairly flat and then implement bonus programs based on performance and profitability. This trend has resulted in the proliferation of deferred compensation plans and other types of incentives, which call for various deferral arrangements.
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"Understanding Customary Financial Covenants"
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By Randy B. Evans
Senior debt, subordinated debt and mezzanine financing agreements generally include one or more financial covenants to enable the lender or investor to monitor the financial performance of the company on a periodic basis.
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"Management Buyout as an Exit Strategy"
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By Dennis L. Monroe
Exit strategies, particularly the sale of a multi-unit restaurant company, at present are very problematic: (i) multiples are down; (ii) there are fewer strategic buyers; (iii) the IPO market is non-existent; (iv) restaurant industry franchisors are moving more toward franchising than acquisitions; and (v) private equity groups are not necessarily willing to pay attractive multiples.
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