February 17, 2021

SmartBrief, Association to host Innovation Awards for Foodservice

Digital publisher SmartBrief Inc. and the National Restaurant Association will recognize innovative products developed for the restaurant industry in the 2021 Innovation Awards for Foodservice.

The awards are SmartBrief’s first time honoring the products and solutions that help industry professionals work smarter, safer and more sustainably. This is especially important as operators and business owners continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic, which has altered the way they run their businesses.

“During the pandemic, businesses helped facilitate the work restaurants do and stepped up to provide the tools and innovations necessary to make quick adjustments to meet consumer needs and new regulations,” says Tia Mattson, executive vice president of Enterprise Marketing and Communications for the National Restaurant Association. “The Innovation Awards for Foodservice will honor some of the companies that supplied solutions when foodservice operators needed them most.”

“This awards program is a way for us to salute the foodservice industry for its great achievements, innovations, adaptability, and resilience during one of the most challenging times in our history,” says Amanda Darman-Allen, SmartBrief’s chief partnership officer. “It’s our way of honoring some of the trailblazers forging new paths in sustainability solutions, delivery management systems and technological innovation.”

Nominations will cover products and services in three categories:

  1. Sustainability products
  2. Technology solutions
  3. Safety and health solutions

A team of judges composed of renowned restaurant company executives, Association experts, and SmartBrief editors, will evaluate and select the winners based on their uniqueness within the market, ability to solve problems, price value, and suitability for use. They include:

  • Jeff Clark, Expert Exchange director, Food Safety & Quality Assurance, Nutrition, and Sustainability, National Restaurant Association
  • Damian Hanft, vice president of training and team member activation, Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Jorge Hernandez, vice president, Quality Assurance, Wendy's
  • Nitin Malhotra, senior director, Enterprise PMO, Chipotle Mexican Grill
  • Larry Lynch, senior vice president, Science and Industry, National Restaurant Association
  • Matt McMillin, vice president, Culinary and Beverage Innovation, Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants
  • Perry Quinn, senior vice president, Business Innovation Development, National Restaurant Association
  • Karim Webb, owner, PCF Restaurant Management

Learn more and nominate products and services at

Honorees will be announced in March.