Foodservice Equipment Reports

Natural Quick-Serve Design Wins IHMRS Pioneering Concept Honors

A quick-service natural foods concept has been named the winning design in the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show’s 2014 Foodservice Pioneering Concept competition. The Nyman Group, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Las Vegas, and Robert Rippe & Associates of Minnetonka, Minn., are the winning foodservice consultants. Their “BOWLS—Food That’s Good For You!” concept will be built to a scaled working model on the exhibit floor at IHMRS, Nov. 9-11 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, and will host demonstrations throughout the show.

“IHMRS attendees are not only looking for innovative products and equipment, but also for edgy concepts and engaging ideas to wow customers,” said Phil Robinson, IHMRS show director. “In the eyes of the judges, BOWLS best achieved the competition objective of developing a retail foodservice concept that can succeed in an underused, nontraditional location not specifically outfitted to foodservice.”

BOWLS is a 500-sq.-ft. quick-serve concept offering bowl bases, such as gluten-free noodles, brown rice, quinoa or warm lavosh, to which proteins, seasonal vegetables and other ingredients are added. 

The competition judges complimented BOWLS’ commitment to technology as a 100% wireless, Wi-Fi based operation, and for its sustainability. The concept includes plant-based disposable serviceware, flatware and beverage cups. If designed for actual operation, the concept also would include a full recycling program encompassing waste water, trash and food waste for composting. BOWLS includes a living wall of fresh herbs hydroponically grown with recycled water and accessible to chefs during food preparation. Freestanding locations would use a bank of solar panels on the roof designed to capture energy and further minimize BOWLS’ environmental impact.

One judge cited the project as “a strong 21st century concept.” Another, citing BOWLS as cutting-edge in terms of concept and menu, said, “Designers made thoughtful use of materials and were spot-on for allergen-free selections on the menu.”

Judges were 2013 winner Melanie Corey-Ferrini; Michael Atanasio, Overlook Hospital; James Dale, Grand Hyatt New York; Robert Doland, Jacobs, Doland & Beer; Maura Doran, New York Methodist Hospital; Mark LoParco, University of Montana; Geoffrey Mills, Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan; and Tracy Nieporent, Myriad Restaurant Group. 

Second place in the 2014 competition was awarded to Al Dente by Houston-based A’La Carte Foodservice Consulting Group; third place went to Cafebellas (formerly Healthy Foods Coffee & Tea Co.) by Steven Cote, Winnetka, Ill. Graphic illustrations for both projects also will be on display at IHMRS 2014.

Foodservice Equipment Reports magazine is the official media partner of the IHMRS 2014 Foodservice Pioneering Concept competition and will publish photos and drawings of the winning concepts.