National Restaurant Association Show® Now Accepting Entries for 2024 Kitchen Innovations Awards

KI Awards celebrate inventive foodservice solutions to address labor efficiency, waste reduction, sustainability and more.

Contact: Julie Franks; FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 14, 2023

CHICAGO (September 14, 2023)— The National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show®, the leading event for discovering foodservice technology innovations and emerging trends, is now accepting applications for the prestigious 2024 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards. Celebrating its 20th year, the KI Awards program recognizes exceptional equipment and product innovations that elevate foodservice operations and contribute to industry progress. The 2024 National Restaurant Association Show will be held from May 18–21, 2024, at McCormick Place in Chicago, showcasing the pinnacle of foodservice innovation.

According to Tom Cindric, President of Winsight Exhibitions, “The KI Awards exemplify the seamless fusion of innovation and the National Restaurant Association Show's legacy. Over the years, this platform has not only evolved to reflect the changing landscape of the foodservice industry, but it has also been instrumental in driving the evolution. Back of house innovation, in particular, has been a cornerstone of our focus. As we approach 2024, we anticipate KI Award submissions to mirror the industry's cutting-edge trends, encompassing AI-enabled technologies, robotics and novel approaches that address challenges like labor shortages and sustainable practices. The KI Awards continue to set the standard for recognizing ingenuity that propels the industry forward."

The KI Awards offer recipients more than recognition; they provide exposure and opportunities within the industry. Awardees are featured in press releases, social media campaigns and recognition on the Show's website and mobile app. They also gain access to exclusive marketing opportunities, including potential participation in the on-site Press Breakfast and Satellite Media Tour. Awardees can further leverage the KI Showroom, a dedicated space that serves as a hub for presenting innovations to dealers and distributors. Additional benefits include:

  • Turnkey exhibit space in the KI Showroom, including installation and utilities
  • Material handling for easy transportation of the innovation
  • Limited food storage, specifically for KI Showroom exhibitors
  • Additional exhibitor badges and lead retrieval scanner
  • Use of the 2024 Kitchen Innovations logo for the entire lifecycle of the awarded product

Costa B2B (The Coca Cola Company) received a 2023 KI Award for its Costa Smart Café an autonomous piece of equipment that provides barista-quality coffee at the touch of a button. Tim Warner, General Manager of Costa B2B, shared, "It’s fantastic that we’ve been recognized for our innovation in the foodservice environment, and we’re really proud of the KI award. This award has allowed us to connect with more customers as a direct result."

The selection of KI Award recipients will be conducted by an independent panel of esteemed judges, each a recognized leader in the foodservice industry. The 2024 judges include:

  • Dan Bendall (Principal, FoodStrategy, Inc.)
  • Lenny Condenzio (CEO, Ricca Design Studios)
  • Richard Eisenbarth, FCSI (President, Emeritus Cini-Little International)
  • Cha Nye Farley (Director Facility Services, Cracker Barrel)
  • Foster F Frable Jr., FCSI Associate AIA (Founding Partner, Clevenger Frable LaVallee)
  • Frank Inoa (Vice President, Design, Engineering and Equipment Innovation, Inspire Brands)
  • Jim Krueger, Jr. CMCE, NRAMF (Chief, Air Force and U.S. Space Force Food and Beverage, Air Force Services Center – AFSVC)
  • Alfred Spear (Manager, Food and Beverage Program Design and Development, Walt Disney World Resort)
  • Jim Thorpe (Senior Food Service Designer, Aramark)

“The Kitchen Innovation Awards at the Show give attendees a look at the latest and greatest in restaurant equipment, and the KI Showroom provides a preview of what they’ll see throughout the event. With technology constantly evolving, I always look forward to seeing the latest transformation of robotic equipment and how it may impact the industry,” said Alfred Spear, Walt Disney World Resort, and first-time KI Awards judge.

Entries for the 2024 KI Awards will be accepted until December 6, 2023. To be eligible, all equipment innovations must have been introduced within 24 months prior to the 2024 National Restaurant Association Show. Application details for the 2024 KI Awards can be found on the event's official website.

As the pinnacle of the global restaurant and hospitality industry, the National Restaurant Association Show offers a comprehensive platform to explore the latest trends in the hospitality sector, spanning from cutting-edge food and beverage concepts to emerging technological breakthroughs.

Connect with the Show on X (Formerly Twitter), Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for event updates.

The National Restaurant Association Show, Hotel-Motel Show is owned and operated by Winsight LLC in partnership with the National Restaurant Association.

About Winsight LLC

Winsight LLC is a business-to-business information, event and market intelligence company serving the restaurant and noncommercial foodservice, convenience and petroleum retailing and grocery industries. Winsight provides research and analytics, branding solutions, face-to-face opportunities, lead generation initiatives, and content marketing services through products including subscription data products, reports, research tools, research programs, fully custom studies, conferences, custom marketing services, meetings, print, digital trade media and tradeshows, including the National Restaurant Association Show.

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