Call for Entries: 2021 Kitchen Innovation Awards


Organizers of next year’s National Restaurant Association Show, announced that the show is now accepting applications for the 2021 Kitchen Innovation (KI) Awards scheduled for May. The KI Awards program recognizes the year’s most forward-thinking and cutting-edge innovations that meaningfully improve foodservice operations.

The KI Award products are traditionally honored for helping industry growth through a focus on automation, efficiency, safety improvements, sustainability, waste solutions, and more. Each 2021 KI Awardee will be featured in the KI Showroom at the 2021 Show, to be held May 22-25 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The KI Showroom has a dedicated exhibit space for each KI Awardee, open spaces for conversations, and Fireside Chats where experts share insights about implementing innovative equipment solutions. Throughout the four-day event, the KI Showroom will welcome operators, dealers, consultants, and media professionals where they will have the opportunity to see product demonstrations and connect with each award recipient.

This year’s judges consist of third-party experts from across foodservice representing some of the industry’s best-known brands and organizations.

  • Dan Bendall, principal, Foodstrategy, Inc.
  • David Chislett, FCSI, executive principal, Ricca Design Studios
  • Richard Eisenbarth, FCSI, president/COO, Cini-Little Int’l.
  • Foster F. Frable, Jr., FCSI, associate AIA, founding partner, Clevenger Frable LaVallee
  • Randy Homer, program manager, food and beverage experience development, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
  • Jim Krueger, Jr., CMCE, NRAMF, chief, Air Force food & beverage policy, procedures, business development & strategic initiatives Air Force Services activity, food & beverage branch
  • Steve Otto, director, capital equipment purchasing, Darden
  • Jim Thorpe, senior food service designer, Aramark

The deadline to apply is December 16, 2020. To qualify, all equipment innovations must have been introduced within 24 months prior to the 2021 Restaurant Show. Application information for the 202 KI Awards is available online.



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