Operator Innovations Awards

2014 Winners Announced

Every day, restaurant operators worldwide transform the industry through innovation, combining imagination and hard work to find new and better ways to do business.
Enter the Operator Innovations Awards, the only program where fellow foodservice operators recognize and celebrate their peers who are transforming the industry through innovation. Our team of independent operator experts from across the industry has surveyed the field, and the results are in.

Here are the 2014 Operator Innovations Awards winners:


2014 Operator Innovations Awards Finalists

 Health & Nutrition  |  Marketing  |  Menu Development  |  Sustainability  |  Technology

Health & Nutrition >>

Smart Choice Smart U

A comprehensive, technology driven wellness program that uses online platforms, mobile applications, and digital signage to provide real-time nutritional information on the center’s food outlets—balanced with a personal activity component driven by partnerships with MyFitnessPal and Fitbit.

Kennesaw State University
“Farm-to-Fit” Program

This campus dining program encompasses all aspects of healthy living, starting with the nutritional improvement of food grown on campus farms by increasing their nutrient-density, to thoughtful menu creation and preparation, to programming designed to encourage healthy lifestyle choices.

Healthy For Life™ Health & Wellness Program

Reaching more than 2.5 million college and university students, this holistic platform builds on a healthy menu with digital wellness centers, nutrition education and wellness programs that work together to support healthier lifestyles on campus.

Marketing >>
OCPS Truck Of The Month (T.O.M.)

This program capitalizes on the food truck craze to increase students’ daily participation in their school lunch program—partnering with a new vendor each month to develop items that are food truck inspired, nutritionally compliant and served off Orange County Public School’s very own food truck.

Boston Pizza International
BP All Stars Kids & Family Engagement Program

Designed to engage kids & parents together, this program features an activity kit, branded tattoos and crayons that integrate with a 3D augmented reality mobile app, featuring interactive games that encourage playful competition and generate frequency.

SUBWAY® Restaurants
Project Subway

To enter the NY Fashion Week conversation, this project challenged designers to craft dresses entirely out of recyclable SUBWAY packaging, including subwrap, straws and salad bowls—wowing attendees and media on the runway while reaching a new demographic of customers.


Menu Development >>

UNC Health Care
Restaurant Delivery Program

A new paradigm in Healthcare food service that provides patients at UNC’s hospital with nearly 100 entrĂ©es using 20-page menu categorized into distinct restaurant brands—resulting in a significant rise in patient satisfaction scores and over $1.3 million in savings since its inception two years ago.

Potawatomi Bingo Casino 
Menu Development Initiative

This progressive culinary philosophy uses calculated risks to push the limits of menu development and execution—going beyond sustainable, organic and underutilized local food, SOUL, to incorporate invasive species, offal and indigenous ingredients on menus throughout the property.

Captain D's 
It's A Brand New D's: Menu Revamp

Integral to the successful transition of the brand from fast food fish to a fast casual seafood restaurant, this menu overhaul utilizes high-end creative and signage to feature new categories, premium sides, new kid’s meals and a high-quality, fresh-grilled seafood menu.

Sustainability >>

Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts

This stewardship platform assigns roles, responsibilities and best practices reaching from dedicated leadership to individual associates to meet stringent standards in waste disposal, conservation, supply chain and is verified by receiving third party audits—promoting sustainability and healthy communities/people across many diverse and seasonal properties.



A comprehensive sustainability program that encompasses three broad initiatives including the environment, nutrition and wellness, and community partnerships, with specific goals and guidelines for each, to touch every aspect of the business and improve corporate citizenship.

Chumash Casino Resort
Whole Systems Approach to Waste Management Program

This sustainability approach goes beyond locally sourced food, energy efficient kitchen systems and 
renewable energy.  It is a comprehensive waste reduction strategy that includes recycling, repurposing and composting to decrease waste by more than 50% with an incremental cost reduction.

Technology >>
Indiana University Health
Hand Hygiene - Vision Safety Solutions 

This program utilizes technology to measure the frequency, duration and quality of individual hand washing against back-of-house entry/exits to ensure compliant hygiene—posting results publicly for all associates in real time.

RAIL Payment Platform

This system features digital, touch-screen check presenters that allow guests to split checks, auto-calculate tips, pay via credit card and trigger e-mail receipts all at the table for more streamlined, secure transactions that save staff time.


Guest Management System (FOGMS)

This technology integrates restaurants’ point-of-sale and reservation systems to track dining/service preferences and spend/purchase history at an individual and aggregate level, yielding data that is sharable between locations for more personalized service and better-targeted marketing messages.