Finalists for NRA Operator Innovation Awards announced

Six non-commercial operators make the grade, in four categories.

Six non-commercial operators are among the 15 finalists for the 2014 Operator Innovation Awards, sponsored by National Restaurant Association (NRA). Winners will be announced May 17, during the 2014 NRA Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago.

At least one of the six is guaranteed an award, as all three finalists in the Health & Nutrition category are from non-commercial categories. UCSF Medical Center, in San Francisco, was chosen for Smart Choice Smart U, a wellness program that uses technology such as online platforms, mobile apps and digital signage to provide real-time nutritional information for food served at the medical center’s food outlets.

The other finalists in this category are Kennesaw State University, in Georgia, for its “Farm-to-Fit” Program, which features, among other aspects, breakthroughs in enhancing the nutritional value of produce grown on campus farms; and the Healthy For Life program managed by Philadelphia-based contractor Aramark. Healthy For Life provides healthy menus, digital wellness centers, nutrition education and other wellness programs for students on college campuses where foodservice is managed by Aramark.

In the Marketing category, Orange County Public Schools (OCPS), in Florida, was chosen for its Truck of the Month. Under the program, OCPS partners with a new vendor every month to develop food truck-inspired items that meet nutritional requirements. The items are then served out of OCPS’s own food truck.

UNC Healthcare, in North Carolina, made the list in the Menu Development category for Restaurant Delivery. The unique program allows patients to choose their meals from a 20-page menu of items that are part of the hospital’s retail foodservice program.

Finally, in Technology, Indiana University Health was chosen for its Hand Hygiene-Vision Safety Solutions program. This program uses technology to measure the frequency, duration and quality of individual hand washing against back-of-the-house entries and exits to ensure compliant hygiene. The results are also posted publicly, in real time, for employees to see.

In the Sustainability category, the finalists are Delaware North, for its GreenPath program; HMSHost for its startsomewhere sustainability program; and Chumash Casino Resort for its Whole Systems Approach to Waste Management.

In Marketing, the other nominees are Boston Pizza for its BP All Stars Kids & Family Engagement Program and Subway for Project Subway.

UNC’s competition in Menu Development are Potawatomi Bingo Casino for its Menu Development Initiative and Captain D’s for It’s A Brand New D’s: Menu Revamp.

In technology, IU Health is joined by Dickie Brennan Restaurants for its RAIL Payment Platform and Fig & Olive for its Guest Management System.

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