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National Restaurant Association Seeks Nominations for Prestigious Operator Innovations Awards

Recognizes commercial and non-commercial operators who drive innovation and excellence in the restaurant industry

CHICAGO, Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Restaurant Association (NRA) encourages the nation's nearly one million restaurants to apply or nominate a fellow operator for its 2013 Operator Innovations Awards. The Operator Innovations Awards celebrate restaurant operators who are transforming the industry with extraordinary creativity and commitment to innovation and excellence in execution.

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Commercial and non-commercial operators may self-nominate. The NRA also invites nominations from individuals throughout the industry – including manufacturers, dealers and distributors, media and other restaurant and foodservice industry professionals – who have seen first-hand how restaurants are driving progress in the restaurant and foodservice industry, fueling customer satisfaction and profitability.

Nominations will be accepted online at through February 4, 2013.

"Restaurant operators are coming up with new and better ways to run their businesses every day. It's important to recognize their ingenuity with the Operator Innovations Awards," said Dawn Sweeney, National Restaurant Association President and CEO. "Continued innovation in core areas of food safety, menus, nutrition, sustainability and technology is an important driver in the future success of our industry."

Selected by an independent panel of experts, the Operator Innovations Awards are presented in each of five categories: Food Safety, Health & Nutrition, Menu Development, Sustainability and Technology. Winners in each category will be announced, and one of the category winners will also be named Innovator of the Year, during the marquee event Destination: Celebration on Saturday, May 18 at the 2013 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show (held May 18-21 at Chicago's McCormick Place).

The judging panel for the Operator Innovations Awards represents the major segments of the foodservice industry. All nominations are reviewed by the panel of industry leaders consisting of Joe Alouf (President and Chief Financial Officer, Guckenheimer), Patricia Bando (Associate Vice President, Auxiliary Services, Boston College), Scott Barton (President, Fine Dining Division, Lettuce Entertain You), Jeff Broadhurst (President & CEO, Eat'n Park Hospitality Group), Jean-Marie Clement (Director Food & Beverage Concept Development Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Worldwide), Douglas Davis (Sr. Director, Global Food Safety, Marriott International), Chris Demery (Vice President, Applications, Bloomin' Brands, Inc.), James Houser (Vice President of Administration, Delaware North), John Metz, Jr. (Executive Chef, President and Co-Founder, Sterling Hospitality), Christopher Pappas (CEO, Pappas Restaurants, Inc.) and C.W. Craig Reed (Director of Food & Beverage, Broadmoor Hotel).

For more information and the nomination form, visit

The annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest single gathering of restaurant, foodservice and lodging professionals. NRA Show 2013 will be held May 18-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago. The event attracts 61,000+ attendees and visitors from all 50 states and 100+ countries, and showcases the latest products, services, innovative ideas, up-to-the-minute information about trends and issues and more growth opportunities than any other industry event. For more information, visit the Show website at, and find the NRA Show on Twitter @NRAShow, Facebook, YouTube and its widely read blog Floored!

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 970,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of nearly 13 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry's largest trade show (NRA Show May 18-21, 2013, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart, including the National ProStart Invitational April 19-21, 2013, in Baltimore, Md.); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids' menu options. For more information, visit and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.

SOURCE National Restaurant Association

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