National Restaurant Association Announces 2013 Operator Innovations Awards Finalists

  National Restaurant Association Announces 2013 Operator Innovations Awards

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, March 28, 2013

Final Contenders Highlight Ingenuity that Helps Advance Industry

CHICAGO, March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An independent panel of
foodservice operators from the across the industry has selected the finalists
for the 2013 Operator Innovations Awards. Three finalists in each of five
categories: Food Safety, Health and Nutrition, Menu Development,
Sustainability and Technology will be brought to Chicago for the 2013 National
Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show this May. The winners in
each category, as well as an Innovator of the Year selected from all
finalists, will be announced live in Chicago during the Destination:
Celebration gala on Saturday, May 18.

"Restaurant operators are coming up with new and better ways to do business
every day," said Jeffrey W. Davis, Convention Chair for NRA Show 2013 and IWSB
and CEO of the United States Beef Corporation. "The prestigious Operator
Innovations Awards celebrate and drive continued advancement industry-wide,
fueling customer satisfaction and profitability. We recognize their
achievements with the Operator Innovations Awards. Earning one of these highly
sought-after awards means bragging rights and publicity for years to come."

The 2013 Operator Innovations Awards finalists are:

Food Safety

HMSHost (Bethesda, Md.)
A comprehensive food safety approach, featuring an audit process that goes
beyond evaluation to integrate consultation and training. The program enables
the company to ensure strict, uniform food safety across a widely varied and
rapidly evolving portfolio of brands/concepts.

Ninety Nine Restaurants (Woburn, Mass.)
An allergy alert system that combines staff training and involvement with
clear communications via ordering, display systems and tracking, ensuring
awareness and proper preparation for everyone who touches a guest's food and
minimizing risk for all.

Potawatomi Bingo Casino (Milwaukee, Wis.)
An internal education and standards program for cook chill systems, the
effectiveness of which has not only improved costs, safety and efficiency –
but also led to on-site workshops for local, state and federal inspectors that
support better food safety for the greater community.

Health & Nutrition

Overlook Medical Center (Summit, N.J.)
The Summit Fit Club program rewards customers for healthier food choices via
Fit Points ranging from 1 to 3 displayed on menu items. Customers swipe their
membership card on check out to accrue points, and receive a $5 meal voucher
for every 200 points earned.

Stanford University (Stanford, Calif.)
The Performance Dining program, which has six performance categories, was
developed in cooperation with Stanford Athletics, the Stanford School of
Medicine and the Culinary Institute of America, and takes a holistic approach
to nutrition which, instead of counting fat and calories, focuses on food's
positive influence in the six performance categories, helping students,
faculty and staff to perform at their mental and physical peak.

United States Air Force (San Antonio, Texas)
Food Transformation Initiative (FTI), revolutionizes Air Force food
selections, cooking methods, meal availability, and merchandising to guide
customers toward healthier choices. When comparing participating with
non-participating operations, performance metrics confirm FTI elevates
healthfulness, energy and alertness through optimal nutrition, without
sacrificing flavor, taste and satisfaction.

Menu Development

ARAMARK Higher Education (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Based on extensive research and feedback, this well-received menu was
developed from the ground-up, and features 100 new menu items inspired by the
latest trends including healthy options, seafood, vegan/vegetarian entrees and
international cuisine.

HMSHost (Bethesda, Md.)
The Freedom To Choose Web portal is an internally developed, custom online
tool for the company's 100+ airport operations and is designed to give local
operators access to hundreds of menu items, allowing them to quickly and
easily tailor menus to keep up with traveler preferences and regional trends.

Taco Bell (Irvine, Calif.)
The Doritos Locos Tacos features a shell made out of Doritos chips on the
outside, with the classic tastes of the Taco Bell crunchy taco on the inside,
combining two well-known brands to create the most successful new product
introduction in the chain's history.


Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, Ga.)
The University's 5,000 guest/day dining operation incorporates a
comprehensive, closed-loop waste management program through a variety of
efforts including a robust organic "Farm-to-Campus-to-Farm" program, water
reclamation, aerobic digestion, composting/recycling programs,
oil-to-biodiesel conversion and more to significantly reduce costs, minimize
environmental impact and qualify the facility for a gold LEED certification.

Pret a Manger (New York, N.Y.)
Worked closely with third-party experts to research and develop a
comprehensive sustainability program which they openly share with the
industry. The program features four-stream front-of-the-house recycling, plus
additional recycling, waste diversion and composting process for back of the
house – the resulting program diverts 55% of waste from landfills, and results
in40% of excess food beingdonated to the homeless.

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (Oshkosh, Wis.)
Implemented a kitchen and dining recycling program that combines a food pulper
with an innovative dry fermentation anaerobic biodigester that digests food
waste to produce methane gas that is used to generate electricity that meets
up to 10% of the campus' needs. Other byproducts include rich compost and
space heat.


Canteen (Charlotte, N.C.)
Avenue C is a self-checkout micro-market with more than 300 installations, and
features remote temperature monitoring, multiple payment methods, biometric
thumbprint security and RFID tag product identification to offer a wider
variety of food selections, including better-for-you and fresh product
options, without the cost associated with a full-service dining solution.

Mainstreet Ventures (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
An interactive tablet menu that has completely replaced paper menus at 11
restaurants, going beyond item presentation to deliver additional information
including customized wine pairings and nutritional information, for a more
sustainable and efficient system that has increased check averages up to 10%.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts  (Lake Buena Vista, Fla.)
The Be Our Guest Restaurant utilizes a unique fast-casual restaurant system
capable of automating elements throughout the operation, including RF table
locators, ordering, checkout, back-of-the-house workflow and more to deliver a
personalized, streamlined experience for guests that allows the operation to
serve more than 3,000 meals at lunch each day.

All nominations for the Operator Innovations Awards have been reviewed by the
judges' panel of industry leaders consisting of Joe Alouf (President & Chief
Financial Officer, Guckenheimer), Patricia Bando (Associate Vice President,
Auxiliary Services, Boston College), Scott Barton (President, Fine Dining
Division, Lettuce Entertain You), Jeff Broadhurst (President & CEO, Eat 'n
Park Hospitality Group), Jean-Marie Clement (Director Food & Beverage Concept
Development Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Worldwide), Douglas Davis (Sr.
Director, Global Food Safety, Marriott International), Chris Demery (Vice
President, Applications, Bloomin' Brands, Inc.), James Houser (Vice President
of Administration, Delaware North), John Metz, Jr. (Executive Chef, President
and Co-Founder, Sterling Hospitality), Christopher Pappas (CEO, Pappas
Restaurants, Inc.), and C.W. Craig Reed (Director of Food & Beverage,
Broadmoor Hotel).

The annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the
largest single gathering of restaurant, foodservice and lodging professionals.
NRA Show 2013 will be held May 18-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago, and the
2013 International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event held in conjunction with the NRA
Show will take place May 19-20. The events attract 61,000+ attendees and
visitors from all 50 states and 100+ countries, and showcases the latest
products, services, innovative ideas, up-to-the-minute information about
trends and issues and more growth opportunities than any other industry event.
For more information, visit the Show and IWSB websites at
and, and find the NRA Show on
Twitter@NRAShow,Facebook,YouTubeand its widely readNRA Show blog.

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business
association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 980,000 restaurant
and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13 million employees. We
represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We
operate the industry's largest trade show (NRA ShowMay 18-21, 2013, in
Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe);
unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF'sProStart, including
the National ProStart Invitational April 19-21, 2013, in Baltimore, Md.); as
well as theKids LiveWellprogram promoting healthful kids' menu options. For
more information, find us on
Twitter@WeRRestaurants, FacebookandYouTube.

SOURCE National Restaurant Association

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