CHICAGO, IL — The National Restaurant Association Show is now accepting applications for the 2019 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards. Celebrating its 15th 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.

While the program always creates great awareness, 2019 KI Award recipients will enjoy the additional exposure of being part of festivities celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show®.

As Steve Maahs, president, Alto-Shaam, whose Vector™ F Series Multi-Cook Oven received a 2018 KI Award, puts it, “When you win this award, it’s really the recognition that there’s truly something innovative here for the industry and the operator.”

Recognized products will be featured in the popular KI Showroom at the 2019 Restaurant Show, May 18-21, at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Thousands of operators, dealers, consultants, and media professionals can see product demonstrations in the KI Showroom over the course of four days. And, the space, revitalized in 2018, draws large crowds with dedicated exhibit space for each KI-awarded product, open spaces for conversations, and Fireside Chats during which experts share insights about implementing innovative equipment solutions.

All awarded products also enjoy industry-wide exposure before and after the Show. This powerful endorsement can open doors with operators, media, and dealers for years to come.

Additionally, KI-awarded equipment enjoys significant benefits as a return on the investment:

  • Validation and credibility from a panel of expert industry judges, including operators, consultants, and specifiers
  • 8´ x 10´ turnkey exhibit space in the highly trafficked KI Showroom
  • KI Award logo and custom signage for use in marketing efforts for the life of the product
  • High-profile exposure both on and off the Show floor
  • Increased media coverage and visibility with influential dealers and operators
  • 280,000+ impressions through Show attendee marketing, including listings on the Restaurant Show website
  • 2.5M+ earned media impressions
  • Manufacturer’s recognition as an industry leader

Francesco Marra, CEO, Marra Forni, a recipient of two 2018 KI Awards, talks about why it is so important for equipment manufacturers to participate in this program and be featured at the Restaurant Show: “Without innovation [our industry] cannot go on. Translating ideas into innovation is the most important matter for an operator. When there is a problem, we need to solve it and we can always solve it with ideas, with a suggestion from the operator.”

Application information for the 2019 KI Awards is available at The deadline to apply is December 5, 2018. To be considered, all equipment innovations must be introduced within the 24 months prior to the 2019 Restaurant Show (May 18-21, 2019). 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), Jeff Cook (Chief Engineer, Restaurant Solutions Group, McDonald’s Corporation), 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 (AFSVA) Food & Beverage Branch), and Steve Otto (Director, Capital Equipment Purchasing, Darden).

Visit for more details on the KI program, to apply, and to see a list of previous award recipients.

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises one million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 15 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry’s largest annual trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); and a unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF’s ProStart). For more information, visit and find us on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.


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