Kitchen Innovations Awards Submissions Are Now Open!

national restaurant association world culinary line-upNow in its 101st year and embarking on a new centennial, the 2020 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show®, the premier event to learn about technology innovations, unique ingredients, and emerging trends in the restaurant industry, is now accepting applications for the 2020 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards. Celebrating its 16th anniversary, the KI Awards program has earned a reputation for defining the gold standard of foodservice equipment.

The program recognizes innovations that meaningfully improve back-of-house operations. Forward-thinking and cutting-edge, this is the equipment that generates industry growth through a focus on automation, efficiency, safety improvements, sustainability, waste solutions, and more.

“The overarching goal of the National Restaurant Association Show is to identify, showcase and celebrate industrywide innovations and trends that are improving efficiency and supporting business growth,” said Tom Cindric, president of Winsight Exhibitions. “The Kitchen Innovations Awards will give a nod to forward-thinking, cutting-edge equipment that will shape and showcase the future of the industry. We look forward to seeing the emerging trends and innovative products that will be submitted for this year’s awards.”

Recognized products will be featured in the popular KI Showroom at the 2020 Restaurant Show, May 16-19, at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Thousands of operators, dealers, consultants, and media professionals can see product demonstrations in the KI Showroom throughout the four-day event. The KI Showroom draws large crowds with dedicated exhibit space for each KI-awarded product, open spaces for conversations, and Fireside Chats where experts share insights about implementing innovative equipment solutions.

“I believe the KI Awards is one of the best and most comprehensive evaluations of new products in the foodservice industry because of the deliberate selection process and the professed panel of judges. It is an honor to be chosen and a privilege to have a booth in the KI Pavilion where we are able to talk with top-tier attendees who are truly interested in cutting-edge technology and equipment that can elevate their operations,” said Sally Ray, Senior Marketing Manager, Hoshizaki America, Inc.

KI-awarded equipment enjoys significant return on investment and industry-wide exposure before and after the Show:

Validation and credibility from a panel of expert industry judges, including operators, consultants, and specifiers Turnkey exhibit space in the highly trafficked KI Showroom
KI Awards logo and custom signage for use in marketing efforts for the life of the product
High-profile exposure on and off the Show floor Increased media coverage and visibility with influential dealers and operators Exposure through Show attendee marketing, including listings on the National Restaurant Association Show’s website Manufacturers’ recognition as an industry leader.

EJ Morrow, Global President, Lancer Corporation, a recipient of a 2019 KI Award, shared why they participate in the program: “It’s an honor to receive the National Restaurant Association’s KI Award. It has highlighted the hard work of our team, giving us market exposure we would not have generated without the award.”

Application information for the 2020 KI Awards is now available. The deadline to apply is December 18, 2019. To qualify, all equipment innovations must have been introduced within 24 months prior to the 2020 Restaurant Show. These products must demonstrate considerable benefits to foodservice operators as determined by our independent panel of industry experts: Dan Bendall (Principal, FoodStrategy, Inc.), David Chislett (Executive Principal, Ricca Design Studios), Richard Eisenbarth, FCSI (President/COO, Cini-Little International), Foster F. Frable, Jr., FCSI, Associate AIA (President, Clevenger Frable LaVallee), Randy Homer (Program Manager, Food & Beverage Operations Asset Management, 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), and Steve Otto (Director, Capital Equipment Purchasing, Darden).

Visit for more details on the KI program, how to apply, and to see a list of previous award recipients. Registration for the show opens late October. To be notified when registration opens, click here. For more information and stay engaged with the community, visit the Show on social at Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.