NRA Honors Inaugural Operator Innovation Award Winners
Pioneers in innovation and leadership were honored with the inaugural Operator Innovations Awards at last week’s NRA Show. Selected by an independent panel of judges, the winners in each award category, plus an Innovator of the Year, were revealed live during the show. The 2012 Operator Innovations Award winners are:
- Innovator of the Year and Sustainability Winner—Evelyn Hill. The top honoree was Evelyn Hill, a family-owned foodservice operator at Liberty Island in New York Harbor. The firm annually serves five million visitors to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and recycles or composts 94% of waste. Its brand-new 7,000-sq.-ft. pavilion is LEED Platinum certified.
- Technology—Stacked Restaurants. The full-service, three-unit California casual chain facilitates "build-your-own" ordering with an iPad-based ordering system, enabling guests to control when they order and when they pay, and to customize their meal in a comfortable manner.
- Food Safety—Waffle House. The 1,600-unit chain has partnered with state health departments to develop a comprehensive business continuity plan and food-safety protocols to ensure speedy and safe reopening after natural disasters. It also closely works with FEMA and state emergency management agencies.
- Health and Nutrition--Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services. The Compass Group company developed "Balance U," a nationwide program aimed at educating and encouraging college students to eat healthier. The program includes gluten-free recipes, menus and labeling, and an educational component for students and employees featuring nutritional labeling information, events and classes.
- Menu Development--Sodexo School Services. Its Future Chefs culinary competition engages students across the country to create and prepare healthy recipes in local competitions. A dozen recipes per year are picked for school-lunch menus around the country, and this "For Kids, By Kids" approach has boosted participation and gotten students to try new foods.