Nation’s Restaurant News, the leading source for news and business intelligence for restaurant and foodservice professionals, is excited to announce the launch of new annual awards recognizing innovation in the restaurant industry.
The CREATORS, launching this fall in conjunction with NRN’s CREATE in-person event (Oct. 4-6 in Denver), will honor the restaurant companies and leaders that best embodied a spirit of innovation in the past year.
“Whether they wanted to or not, restaurant companies were forced into innovation through the COVID-19 pandemic as they responded to the myriad challenges that it presented,” said Sam Oches, editor in chief of Nation’s Restaurant News. “Some leaders saw this as an opportunity and doubled down on creative strategies, products and platforms that helped to advance their businesses beyond survival mode. With The CREATORS, we will recognize those innovators and hopefully encourage others to pursue a similar mindset.”
In its inaugural year, The CREATORS will feature six individual awards and one CREATOR of the Year chosen from those six. Winners will be chosen based on innovation creativity, scale and impact. The individual awards are:
- Brand CREATOR (201 units and more): A large brand that took a holistic approach to innovation in the past year, pushing the boundaries throughout their operation.
- Brand CREATOR (200 units and less): A small or mid-sized brand that took a holistic approach to innovation in the past year, pushing the boundaries throughout their operation.
- Independent CREATOR: An independent operator that took a holistic approach to innovation in the past year, pushing the boundaries throughout their operation.
- Marketing CREATOR: The brand or marketing chief who spearheaded the most innovative marketing campaign or community initiative in the past year.
- Operations CREATOR: The brand or operations chief who had the most innovative approach to restaurant operations, whether in the kitchen, technology solutions, labor, design or strategy.
- Leadership CREATOR: The brand or leader who best epitomizes leadership as it relates to culture, employee relations, franchise relations, philanthropy and sustainability.
“The CREATE platform was designed to think outside the box with programmatic content — an innovative way to deliver valuable insights virtually and in person,” Oches said. “The CREATORS are the perfect opportunity to likewise recognize those professionals thinking outside the box as they set their brands up for success during the pandemic and beyond.”
Know an innovative person or brand that is worthy of this recognition? Email Sam Oches at [email protected] with the category you think they're worthy of in the subject line and your pitch for why they're innovative in the body.
CREATE, which will be held at the newly renovated Sheraton Denver Downtown, is a unique festival-style event where restaurant leaders from the largest chains to innovative independents come to learn, discover and advance their careers and businesses. The in-person event follows months of CREATE digital experiences featuring business and leadership insights from top industry executives.
CREATE attendees will have access to interactive discussions with industry leaders, lightning keynotes, tech demo kiosks, pop-up food stations and plenty of opportunities for meaningful connections with industry peers.
Nearly two-dozen speakers have already been lined up for CREATE, including: Monty Moran, former co-CEO of Chipotle; Sheilina Henry, Group Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion, for Bloomin’ Brands; Michael Lastoria, CEO and cofounder of &pizza; Bill Phelps, CEO of Dave’s Hot Chicken; Damola Adamolekun, CEO of P.F. Chang’s; and more.
New speakers and events are being added all the time. Visit the CREATE event site to learn more and register to attend.
Want even more CREATE? Catch up on CREATE digital sessions on demand, or register for future virtual sessions here.