The winner of the Industry Innovator of the Year award is Terry McDowell, head of food and drink at TGI Fridays.
This award follows input and recommendations from senior members of the industry and goes to someone who lives and breathes food development and kitchen innovation.
Terry McDowell has driven the modernisation of his company’s kitchen estate and shown an appetite for introducing cleaner and more energy efficient cooking platforms into the operation.
He is a passionate advocate of using the latest technology to make the job of his chefs easier and give them the flexible training resources they need to prosper.
Mr McDowell leaves no stone unturned when it comes to food innovation and in the past 12 months he has led one of the most significant menu developments in TGI Fridays’ recent history with the roll-out of its first sub-600 calorie and vegan menus – an exercise that even saw him go meat-free for a few months in a bid to truly understand what customers want.
Mr McDowell (pictured receiving his award from FEJ editor Andrew Seymour) said: “It is really good to win this award. We have been keeping up with trends and changing the perception of being meat-focused to lighter and vegetarian dishes while still offering the core menu our customers love. We are using technology to keep at the forefront of the market and deliver unique experiences at each visit.”