The National Restaurant Association has announced the winners of the third annual Operator Innovation Awards. Selected by an independent panel of expert judges, the winners were recognized for their achievements in driving advancement in the foodservice industry. These cutting-edge restaurant operators were revealed live last night at Destination: Celebration, the gala event for the 2014 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, in each award category of: Health & Nutrition, Marketing, Menu Development, Sustainability, and Technology.
In addition to winning the Health & Nutrition category, the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center was named Innovator of the Year for its Smart Choice Smart U program. The digital-based wellness plan utilizes online platforms, mobile applications, and digital signage to provide real-time nutritional information on the center’s food outlets, which can be balanced with a personal activity component driven by partnerships with MyFitnessPal and Fitbit. Dan Henroid, the director of nutrition and foodservice for UCSF Medical Center accepted the award on his team’s behalf.
“Winning our category was, in itself very significant for our team,” says Henroid. “The talent in this year’s awards top-notch, and we are honored to be recognized among all these great innovations. I have to give a big thanks to my team, USCF, and the entire food and nutrition services team – they make our work possible every single day.”
“The winners of these initiatives are at the forefront of innovation and ingenuity in the foodservice industry. These programs succeed in pushing boundaries and exploring alternative ways of operating while creating a synergy between business and creativity,” said Sam Facchini, Convention Chair for NRA Show 2014 and co-founder and co-owner of Metro Pizza.
The 2014 Operator Innovations Awards winners are:
Health and 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 on the center’s food outlets—balanced with a personal activity component driven by partnerships with MyFitnessPal and Fitbit.
UNC Healthcare: Restaurant Delivery Program
A new paradigm in Healthcare food service that provides patients at UNC’s hospital with nearly 100 entrées using 20-page menu categorized into distinct restaurant brands—resulting in a significant rise in patient satisfaction scores and over $1.3 million in savings since its inception two years ago. The Restaurant Delivery Program is the first hospital to use Su Vide techniques including Su Vide chicken, hamburgers and salmon. In their first year, the program saved UNC more than $500,000 in labor and $400,000 in costs, employee morale was up, patient’s attitudes were upbeat and costs were down.
Orange County Public Schools: OCPS Truck of the Month (T.O.M.)
The Orange County Public School Truck of the Month (T.O.M) Program reflects their effort to implement current trends in the restaurant and foodservice industry into an educational setting that kids can relate to and understand. This program capitalizes on the food truck craze to increase students’ daily participation in their school lunch program—partnering with a new vendor each month to develop items that are food truck inspired, nutritionally compliant and served off Orange County Public School’s very own food truck.
Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts: GreenPath®
This stewardship with five indicators – environmental management, asset protection, interpretation and education, community outreach, healthy food and healthy living platform, assigns roles, responsibilities and best practices reaching from dedicated leadership to individual associates to meet stringent standards in waste disposal, conservation, supply chain and is verified by receiving third party audits—promoting sustainability and healthy communities/people across many diverse and seasonal properties.
Dickie Brennan’s Restaurants: RAIL Payment Platform
The multi-concept restaurant group joined forces with application technology group RAIL to create a pay-at-the-table program for all their concepts. I.T. Director Derek Nettles worked with the RAIL team to create the exclusive system, which integrates the restaurants’ point-of-sale and reservation systems to track dining and service preferences for guests. Diners are able to pay their bill right at the table, without which yields data that is sharable between locations for more personalized service and better-targeted marketing messages.
The annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest annual gathering of restaurant, foodservice, and lodging professionals in the world. NRA Show 2014 will be held May 17-20 at McCormick Place in Chicago, and the 2014 International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event, held in conjunction with NRA Show, will take place May 18-19. The events attract 65,000+ attendees and visitors from all 50 states and 100+ countries, and the event 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.
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