Foodservice Equipment Reports

Finalists Announced For 2014 Operator Innovations Awards

Fifteen finalists have been selected for the NRA’s Third Annual Operator Innovations Awards, which recognize and celebrate operational excellence and ingenuity in health and nutrition, marketing, menu development, sustainability and technology. 

One will be chosen as Innovator of the Year, and all will be honored during May’s NRA Show. The finalists are: 

Health & Nutrition: 

UCSF Medical Center: Smart Choice Smart U, a comprehensive, technology-driven wellness program that uses online platforms, mobile applications and digital signage to provide real-time nutritional information at the center’s food outlets.

Kennesaw State University: Farm-to-Fit Program, a campus dining program that encompasses all aspects of healthy living, from the nutritional improvement of food grown on campus farms to thoughtful menu creation and preparation.

Aramark: Healthy For Life Health & Wellness Program, a holistic program that reaches more than 2.5 million college and university students and builds on a healthy menu with digital wellness centers, nutrition education and wellness programs. 


Orange County Public Schools: OCPS Truck Of The Month, a program that capitalizes on the food-truck craze to increase students’ daily participation in their school lunch program.

Boston Pizza International: BP All Stars Kids & Family Engagement Program, which features an activity kit, branded tattoos and crayons that integrate with a 3D-augmented reality mobile app. 

Subway Restaurants: Project Subway, which challenged New York Fashion Week designers to craft dresses entirely out of recyclable Subway packaging.

Menu Development: 

UNC Health Care: Restaurant Delivery Program, which provides patients at UNC’s hospital with nearly 100 entrées using a 20-page menu categorized into distinct restaurant brands, resulting in a higher patient-satisfaction scores and $1.3 million in savings since its inception two years ago. 

Potawatomi Bingo Casino: Menu Development Initiative, a progressive culinary philosophy that goes beyond sustainable, organic and underutilized local food to incorporate invasive species, offal and indigenous ingredients on menus throughout the property. 

Captain D's: It's A Brand New D's Menu Revamp, which transitioned the chain to a fresh, grilled seafood menu with new categories, premium sides and new kid’s meals.


Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts: GreenPath, a stewardship platform that assigns roles, responsibilities and best practices to meet stringent waste-disposal, conservation and supply-chain standards—all verified through third-party audits. 

HMSHost: startsomewhere, a comprehensive sustainability program that encompasses three initiatives, including the environment, nutrition and wellness and community partnerships, to touch every aspect of the business and improve corporate citizenship. 

Chumash Casino Resort: Whole Systems Approach to Waste Management Program, a comprehensive waste-reduction strategy that includes recycling, repurposing and composting to decrease waste by more than 50% with an incremental cost reduction. 


Indiana University Health: Hand Hygiene/Vision Safety Solutions, which utilize real-time technology to measure the frequency, duration and quality of individual hand washing against back-of-house entry/exits to ensure compliant hygiene.

Dickie Brennan Restaurants: RAIL Payment Platform, a tableside system featuring digital, touch-screen check presenters that allow guests to split checks, auto-calculate tips, pay via credit card and trigger e-mail receipts for more streamlined, secure transactions. 

Fig & Olive: Guest Management System, a technology that integrates restaurants’ POS and reservation systems to track dining/service preferences and spend/purchase history at an individual and aggregate level, yielding data that is sharable between locations for more personalized service and better-targeted marketing messages.

Related Articles

NRA Announces 15 Finalists For Operator Innovations Awards

NRA Unveils 15 Finalists For Operator Innovations Awards

NRA Announces Operator Innovations Awards Winners