National Restaurant Association® is Looking for the Next Big Thing in Foodservice Equipment and Technology

CHICAGO, IL — The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is now accepting applications for the 2018 Kitchen Innovations Awards. In its 14th year, the KI Awards honor the best advancements in new foodservice equipment. KI Award recipients have produced software and equipment that positively impact restaurants’ efficiency, speed and revenue potential. Recognized products will be featured in the popular Kitchen Innovations Showroom at the 2018 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show®, May 19-22, 2018 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.
Phil McKee, Founding CEO of Appliance Innovation, a recipient of multiple KI Awards, calls the award “a third-party endorsement that says this company has created something truly innovative.” He says the KI Showroom “provides a high-visibility venue for product launch. After that, the right to use that KI logo in marketing materials for the life of the product tells operators ‘this is special; you should probably look at this.’”
Recipient benefits include publicity through the NRA’s media relations efforts; listings in NRA Show® marketing and website; and featured placement on the NRA Show floor in the KI Showroom where thousands of operators, dealers, consultants and media professionals can demo the products over the course of four days.
“We received our first KI Award in 2005. Since then, we’ve been fortunate to be honored several times for different innovations. We’re repeat participants because the KI Award program is a wonderful platform,” says Lauren Davies, Marketing Manager, RATIONAL USA, recipient of multiple KI Awards. “Especially when launching a new product, it’s a great way to highlight key innovations our company has to offer commercial kitchens.”
Suppliers can apply for a KI Award at The deadline to apply for the 2018 KI Awards is December 3, 2017. To be considered, all equipment and technology innovations must be introduced within the 24 months prior to NRA Show 2018 (May 19-22, 2018). 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), Aaron Lamotte (Senior Director, Performance Interiors, Sodexo Performance Interiors) 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 more than 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 14.7 million employees. Together with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the Association works to lead America’s restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence and participation, enhancing the quality of life for all we serve. For more information, visit us at