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Nation’s Restaurant News announces winners of inaugural CREATORS Awards

Recognizing the restaurant companies and leaders who best embody a spirit of innovation

Whether they wanted to be or not, restaurant companies were forced into innovation by the COVID-19 pandemic as they responded to the myriad challenges that it presented. Some opted for the bare minimum to get them through the crisis. Others saw the season for the opportunity it was: a chance to take big swings with new products, promos and strategies.

Nation’s Restaurant News is proud to introduce The CREATORS, a new annual award designed to recognize those restaurant companies and leaders that best embodied a spirit of innovation in the past year.

The CREATORS program, launched in conjunction with NRN’s CREATE in-person event (Oct. 4-6 in Denver), honors brands and people in six categories, and one CREATOR of the Year will be announced from among those winners at CREATE next month.

“Over the last year and a half, we at Nation’s Restaurant News have witnessed inspiring, outside-the-box thinking in all corners of the foodservice industry,” said editor-in-chief Sam Oches. “But the 2021 class of CREATORS stands apart from the pack. These brands and leaders embody the curiosity, creativity and courage that will be necessary to succeed in a post-pandemic world.”

The CREATORS Awards are selected by the editors of Nation’s Restaurant News. Winners will be celebrated with a cocktail reception and panel discussion during the upcoming CREATE event.

“We are thrilled to honor the first class of CREATORS and can think of no place more fitting than at CREATE next month,” Oches said. “CREATE is about bringing together the people, ideas and products that are shaping the future of foodservice, and nobody better represents that spirit of innovation than these six CREATORS.”

Here are the six winners for this inaugural award, and stay tuned to find out who will be named the CREATOR of the Year.

Correction: September 17, 2021
An error in the description of Chipotle Mexican Grill's wage structure has been corrected.
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