Sodexo, Chartwells score at NRA Awards show

Contractors take two of six inaugural Operator Innovation Awards

May 7—Sodexo School Services and Chartwells Higher Education received two of the six awards handed out Saturday night in Chicago at the first Operator Innovation Awards sponsored by the National Restaurant Association.

"These restaurant operators are true pioneers of innovation and leadership, who are breaking new ground on how to successfully run a restaurant business," said Jack Crawford, Convention Chair for NRA Show 2012 and President and CEO of Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative, LLC. "It is our honor to recognize our Operator Innovations Award winners and, we believe they will serve as an inspiration to restaurateurs throughout our industry."

Sodexo was recognized in the Menu Development category for its Future Chefs program. The annual Future Chefs National Competition challenges students to create and prepare healthy recipes in local competitions. 12 recipes per year are chosen to be featured on school lunch menus around the country, and this "For Kids, By Kids" approach has proven to be a great way to increase participation and get kids to try new foods.

Chartwells was honored in the Health & Wellness category for its Balance U program. Balance U is Chartwells’ nationwide program developed to educate and encourage students to eat healthier. Not only does Balance U include gluten-free recipes, menus and labeling, but the program also includes a strong education component for students and employees alike, featuring nutritional labeling information, events and classes and more.

The other winners were Evelyn Hill Inc., New York City, which manages concessions at Liberty Island, in the Sustainability category for its recycling progam; Stacked Restaurants LLC, in the Technology category, for its "build-your-own" ordering system; and Waffle House, in the Food Safety category, for its public-private partnership to secure foodservice safety after a major disaster.

Evelyn Hill Inc. was chosen from the group as the Innovator of the Year.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
ranch dressing chicken fingers

While salad bars are often the first place K-12 operators look to incorporate more fresh produce, few go as far as making their own salad dressings. But last fall, in a continuing effort to transition from prepackaged meals to an all-scratch menu, Mark Augustine, executive chef of culinary and nutrition services for Minneapolis Public Schools, switched to concocting four varieties in-house—ranch, Caesar, Italian and Asian vinaigrette. The move, designed to eliminate artificial ingredients and lower fat and sodium, presented the biggest challenge when it came to ranch dressing, the school-...

Ideas and Innovation
business card

We get the new folks abridged business cards saying, “Hi, my name is so-and-so and I work in nutrition department.” We thought it would give them more ownership of the program and elevate their status and position in the organization. It also gives our team more self-confidence and self-worth as an employee, which can be a challenge with foodservice workers.

Ideas and Innovation
tug hospital robot

Automation has opened up in recent years as foodservice operators across the country grapple with labor shortages. Robots deliver food trays to patients in hospitals, and they make sushi on college campuses. For some operators, they’re worthwhile to reduce strain on human employees and increase productivity.

Robots roamed the hallways when the University of California San Francisco Medical Center’s new Mission Bay campus opened last year. Though these robots have nicknames like Wall-E and Tuggie McFresh, they’re not a novelty. They’re a solution to a problem that administrators...

Ideas and Innovation
sandwich sub

At our corporate operation in the Kohl’s headquarters, two kinds of sandwiches are available daily—an artisan version and a more straightforward sub. While planning out a business model for the space, Kohl’s wanted something that was quality driven, but very sensitive to pricing for associates. Diners are comfortable spending about $6 to $7 for lunch.

FSD Resources