Harold L. Kestenbaum
Harold L. Kestenbaum, Esquire
Board Advisor Member
Harold L. Kestenbaum advises the Stanwood Group as a Board Advisor Member and also separately provides services to Stanwood Group clients under independent engagement. Harold is an attorney who has specialized in franchise law and other matters relating to franchising since 1977. From May 1982 until September 1986, Harold served as franchise and general counsel to Sbarro, Inc., the national franchisor of over 1,000 family-style Italian restaurants and was a director from March 1985 to December 2006. From September 1983 to October 1989, he served as President and Chairman of the Board of FranchiseIt Corporation, the first publicly traded company specializing in providing franchise marketing and consulting services and equity financing to emerging franchise companies, which he co-founded. Harold has authored the first book dedicated to the entrepreneur who wants to franchise his/her business called “So You Want To Franchise Your Business”. It is a step by step guide to what a business person needs to know and do to properly roll out a franchise program.
Harold has served as franchise counsel to many regional, national and international franchise companies in many diverse industries. Here is a sampling of some of those companies: Sbarro – The Italian Eatery, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Boulder Creek Steaks & Saloon, Nathan’s Famous, 1-800 Flowers and its subsidiary, Fannie May Candies, Bagel Boss, Manhattan Bagel, Bobby Flay’s Burger Palace, Taffer’s Tavern, The Original Brooklyn Water Bagels, The Halal Guys, Artichoke Pizza, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, U-Swirl Yogurt, Dixie Cream Dream Donuts, Hot & Crusty Bakery, Firkin’s Pubs, Sylvia’s Soul Food Restaurant, Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips, Blo Blow Dry Bar, JRECK Subs, Austin Grill, Sedutto Ice Cream, Yogen Fruz, Freshii, Wall StreetDeli, Original Ray’s Pizza, Ranch One, Holberton Schools, Clean Image Auto Detailing, Saladworks, Right Accord, Hospitality House, Hyper-Kidz, STEM, Hunter Rowe Real Estate, Woofie’s Dog Walking, Leader of the Pack, Tax Dr., Straetus Debt Collection, Physique 57, Ritter’s Custard, Cool Brands International (Tropicana Smoothies, Swensen’s, Bresler’s, I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt and Golden Swirl), Curry Up Now, Camille’s Sidewalk Café, Serafina Restaurants, Arooga’s Grill, Rex’s Fried Chicken, Lemon Tree, Los Taxes, The Home Mag, King Bear Auto Service Centers, GarageTek, Travel Network, Herman’s World of Sports, Dashing Diva, DCAP Insurance, ATC Healthcare, Carebuilders At Home, Chaise Fitness, Southern Muscle, Tommy’s Car Wash, AlignLife Systems, Teeth Tomorrow, Xpress Spa, Golden Heart Senior Care, Changes Home Care, Health At Last, Re-Bath, Locali, i9 Sports, Lucille Roberts, Firkin Pubs International, Atomic Wings, Wholesome Tummies, Bareburger, Butler’s Chocolates, Hand And Stone Spas, Sea Tow Services International, La Bottega, Forever Yogurt, Chocolate Works, Tapioca Express, Extreme Pizza Honest-1 Auto Care, Miami Subs, Mooyah Burgers, Planet Wings, 16 Handles Yogurt, Cooks Tortas, Slapfish, Rock & Brews, Gyro Shack, Glaze Teriyaki, Zooga Yoga, Brooklyn Dumplings, Melt Shop, Big Daddy’s, Board and Brush, Koala Center For Sleep Disorders, Mr. Sandless, Museum of Illusions, My Elder Care Advocate, Paws & Remember, Tossed, The Taco Maker, Green Market Café, Skinny Pizza, Snowdays, Squisito’s Pizza and Pasta, Calexico, Farinella Pizza, Pokeatery, Boardwalk Burgers and Fries, Rachel’s Kitchen, Garage Living, The Counter, Creative Playthings, Maki of Japan, Black Rock Grill, City Wok, Moby Dick House of Kebab, Adam and Eve, Cody’s Steakhouse, Duff’s Famous Wings, Sky Zone, Launch Trampoline Park, Funtopia, Knockout Haircuts for Men, Sharkey’s Hair Cuts for Kids, Jiffy Junk, Hobby Quest, Peterbrooke Chocolatier, Cali Love, Zpizza, Cauldron Ice Cream, Black Rifle Coffee, Parisi Speed School, CKO Kickboxing, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Burger Hut, Brother Jimmy’s Barbeque, Elevate Education, Waffle Cabin, Little Greek, Westshore Pizza, Popbar, Famous Toastery, Tommy Pastrami Deli, Newks Eatery, The Crepe Maker, Gold Medal Gymnastics, Men’s Hair House, Instinct Dog Training, Soldier Fit, Salsa Fresca, The Flood Team, Wet Willie’s, Unarthodox, Paymore, Mosquito Shield, Chyten Educational Services, The Tutoring Center, Rapid Realty, Acai Express, Crave, GFG Bakery, Baya Bar, Playa Bowls, Ike’s Love and Sandwiches, Russo’s New York Pizzeria, Papaya King and College Hunks Hauling Junk.
Harold’s expertise in franchise law is enhanced by his practical experience in serving as the Chief Executive Officer of a national franchisor and in serving as a Director of numerous nationally and internationally known franchisors, experiences that are rare and unique in the area of franchise law.
During the 40+ years that Harold has been representing franchisors, many have gone on to be wildly successful. For example, one client that started from scratch with Harold, sold out to a private equity company for $35,000,000; another sold out to a private equity company for $30,000,000, also having started with Harold from scratch; another client just did an IPO and raised $45,000,000; one client has sold over 150 franchises in less than two years, also starting with Harold; and another has sold over 1,000 units, also starting with Harold, not to mention Sbarro and their 950 locations. His track record clearly speaks for itself.
Harold’s prior firm was named as one of the top 10 franchise law firms in America as voted by Entrepreneur Magazine. In May of 2019, Harold merged his successful law practice with the Philadelphia law firm, Spadea Lignana, another franchise boutique firm. Harold is now a partner in that firm. Spadea Lignana has been named the number two franchise law firm in America by Entrepreneur Magazine, two years in a row.
Harold is a member of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section, a member of the Antitrust Section’s Forum Committee on Franchising since 1978, a member of the Subcommittee on Franchising of the American Bar Association’s Corporation Banking and Business Law Section, is a founding member and past Chairman of the New York State Bar Association’s Franchise, Distribution and Licensing Law Section, and he currently serves as Chairman for its Education and Seminar Subcommittee (he and has chaired a Statewide seminar programs for New York State attorneys in 1997, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2005 and chaired seminars on Franchise Law for the Nassau and Suffolk County Bar Associations) and was a member of the International FranchiseAssociation’s Supplier Forum Advisory Board. He has published many articles related to franchising and frequently lectures and appears before numerous organizations and law schools speaking on various topics in franchising. He has been chosen one of the top 100 franchise attorneys in North America by Franchise Times in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 through 2021 and was named to its Hall of Fame. He was named one of the three best franchise attorneys in the New York metro area by New York Magazine for 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, and was named New York Super Lawyer as one of the Top Attorneys in the New York Metro Area for the years 2007-2018. In addition, he has written two articles for the ABA Forum Committee, one appearing in the Franchise Law Journal and the other appearing in the Franchise Lawyer. He has appeared on two International Franchise Association Legal Symposium panels, in 2001 and in 2004. He also participates in the IFA Speakers Bureau and has spoken on its behalf, and has been a facilitator at ten IFA Convention Roundtables, and is a Certified Franchise Executive (CFE). He has attended over 30 ABA Forum Committee annual programs since 1978 and over 30 IFA Legal Symposium. Harold’s book, So You Want to Franchise Your Business, is available on Amazon.com.
Harold received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1971 from Queens College, Queens, New York and earned his Juris Doctor Degree from the University Of Richmond School Of Law, Richmond, Virginia, in 1975, where he was a member of Law Review. He is listed in “Who’s Who in American Law”, “The Best Lawyers in America” (Franchising), and is on the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.
Harold can be reached at: