Awards to Showcase Equipment at the National Restaurant Association Show

The 2024 National Restaurant Association Show is now accepting applications for next year’s Kitchen Innovations Awards.

Now in its 20th year, the KI Awards recognize exceptional equipment and product innovations that elevate foodservice operations and contribute to industry progress. Winners will be showcased during the 2024 show, which will be held May 18-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

“The KI Awards exemplify the seamless fusion of innovation and the National Restaurant Association Show's legacy,” said Tom Cindric, president of Winsight Exhibitions, the show’s organizer. “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 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, president emeritus, Cini-Little International
  • Cha Nye Farley, director of facility services, Cracker Barrel
  • Foster Frable Jr., founding partner, Clevenger Frable LaVallee
  • Frank Inoa, vice president, design, engineering and equipment innovation, Inspire Brands
  • Jim Krueger, Jr., chief, Air Force and U.S. Space Force food and beverage, Air Force Services Center
  • 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,” Spear, a first-time judge, said. “With technology constantly evolving, I always look forward to seeing the latest transformation of robotic equipment and how it may impact the industry.”

Entries for the 2024 KI Awards will be accepted until Dec. 6. 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 here.