Applying better solutions to an existing marketplace: that’s innovation in its very basic form. When innovation peaks though, the affects spread beyond the innovators themselves and provide the market, the industry, customers and operators with the stepping stones needed to continue to grow. The companies and brands that will be celebrated this weekend at the NRA Show have done just this.

The NRA Show features three distinct awards programs designed to identify and share these innovations with operators across the globe. The Kitchen Innovations Awards (KI) recognize and celebrate breakthrough back-of-house equipment and technology; these are items that are improving and benefiting operators on a daily basis. Rewarding bold imagination in food and beverage, The Food & Beverage Innovations Awards (FABI) highlight the products with the greatest potential to help operators capitalize on consumer trends.The third and final innovation awards program is the Operator Innovations Awards (OI), which will announce winners this Saturday, May 17th at the Destination: Celebration Gala. The OI Awards recognize and celebrate restaurant operators worldwide who are combining imagination and hard work to find fresh ways to improve business.

For the 10-year Anniversary of the Kitchen Innovation Awards, recipients were judged by a panel of industry experts who determined which products have been working to solve operator challenges and specifically improve back-of-house effectiveness. This year’s winners included Alto-Shaam, Inc.; BioZone Scientific International; Edlund Company; Fired Up Kitchens; Garland; Manitowoc Beverage; Neico Corporation; Volcan; Turbo Coil and many, many more. To see the full list of Kitchen Innovations Award Winners, click here

The FABI Awards Program rewards food and beverage products that truly have the potential to drive operator success. From Schmacon’s Smoked and Cured Glazed Beef to Kiki’s Gluten Free Deep Dish Pizza, the FABI Awards features trending ingredients, healthy living, special diets and artisan offerings as just a few categories rich in products that have helped operators expand menus, meet demand and retain customers.  

The third annual Operator Innovations Awards will select finalists in five categories: health and nutrition, marketing, menu development, sustainability and technology. The finalists include men, women, boys and girls who, through innovation and imagination, are finding ways to improve the foodservice industry. The current finalists include everything from UNC Health Care’s Restaurant Delivery Program where patients can choose from a menu with more than 93 different entrée options, to Subway’s Project Subway marketing initiative in which they sent models down a New York Fashion Week runway in branded materials such as napkins, straws and salad bowls. The winners of this year’s Operator Innovations Awards will be announced live during the gala, in addition to the prestigious award of Innovator of the Year.