The nomination process for the 2018 Foodservice Equipment Journal Awards will officially open on Wednesday 21 February, it can be revealed today.
The FEJ Awards comprises 13 categories honouring operators, suppliers and distributors from the UK market.
Companies are eligible to nominate themselves in the awards categories outlined below, or submit nominations on behalf of third parties (e.g. suppliers may nominate operators and vice-versa).
Nominations will need to refer to company achievements and developments that have taken place within the past 12 months, citing examples of innovation, investment and success related to the chosen category(s) wherever possible. Further instructions will be given on the entry forms when nominations open next week.
Here is our rundown of each category so that you can start thinking about what you might want to nominate for!
Operator of the Year for Innovative Kitchen Design sponsored by CEDA
Successful foodservice operators will know that a well-designed kitchen is central to achieving a happy team of chefs, impeccable service and outstanding food. This category aims to recognise multi-site operators that have invested in new kitchens and spent time identifying the right design and lay-out to ensure operational excellence.
Operator of the Year for Energy Efficiency & Sustainability
With pressure on businesses to act as responsibly as possible when it comes to sustainability, not to mention the rising cost of energy bills, the focus on energy efficiency in commercial kitchens has never been greater. This accolade pays tribute to the operators that are working hard to make their kitchens greener through the right practices, equipment and standards.
Operator of the Year for Multi-site Kitchen Projects
Expansion is the name of the game for most multi-site foodservice operators and that can bring huge challenges for a business, not least in terms of implementing new kitchens. This category recognises operators that have successfully managed significant site and kitchen roll-outs in the last 12 months.
Operator of the Year for Equipment Innovation sponsored by Jestic Foodservice Equipment
The introduction of new equipment to a kitchen — be it in the form of cooking, refrigeration, warewashing, beverage or any other category — can have a profound effect on a foodservice business’ operations. This award recognises the time, investment and sheer hard work that goes into rolling out innovative equipment across multiple sites.
Operator of the Year for Menu Development
Kitchens aren’t just places for operators to prepare food for customers or guests — they are also a test-bed for devising new menus, product creations and dishes. This honour will therefore be contested by operators that have enhanced, improved or grown their menus over the past year, recognising the investment that goes into making this happen.
Operator of the Year for Best New Concept
The UK foodservice market is one of the most vibrant in the world, with new operators, cuisines and business models springing up all the time. Given the costs and challenges involved with rolling out a new venture, anybody that has successfully managed this process deserves to be applauded. The winner will be the company judged by the industry to have developed the best new foodservice concept.
Industry Innovator of the Year
This award will recognise the individual, team or group judged to have been a true industry innovator over the past year. Whether it is the work they have done in the kitchen, the decisions they have made for the business or the standards they have set, the winner of this accolade will truly deserve the applause of the industry.
Executive Chef of the Year
Whether it is restaurants, pubs, care homes, contract caterers or any other professional foodservice business, the group executive chef, food director (or any other similar title) has one of the most important roles to play when it comes to what happens on a kitchen level. From creative menu development and food sourcing to kitchen specification and roll-outs, this accolade honours those individuals that are excelling in their posts.
Supplier of the Year for Training & Education
With today’s catering equipment more flexible and feature-packed than ever before, the right training and user guidance can make a real difference to how it is operated in a live environment. From maximising the benefits and features to operating equipment safely and efficiently, this award honours the supplier deemed to be setting the benchmark for product education.
Supplier of the Year for New Product Development
The challenge for any kitchen equipment supplier is how to evolve successful products and come up with new ones. This accolade gives credit to the manufacturer or brand that has enriched the market by introducing new equipment that delivers tangible benefits to foodservice operators, with a particular focus on innovative features.
Supplier of the Year for Service & Support
Selling a piece of equipment is only the first part of a supplier’s relationship with its customers, which is why so many operators place huge value on the support that a brand can offer them. This distinction will go to the supplier judged to provide stand-out support for their product in terms of areas such as warranty provision, after-sales service, spare parts and customer assistance.
Multi-site Kitchen Project House of the Year
Standalone items of equipment need to be knitted together with the perfect design to deliver a winning kitchen and that’s the job of a professional kitchen house or distributor. This accolade goes to those companies that are working with multi-site users to deliver full kitchen projects encompassing everything from design and specification to installation and commissioning.
Service & Maintenance Specialist of the Year
If there is one thing guaranteed to send a chef into a rage it’s equipment that fails during service or a broken promise to fix a missing piece of kit. This award therefore recognises the service and maintenance providers that come to the rescue when it’s most needed. Whether it’s efficiently carrying out PPMs or ensuring high first-time fix rates, such organisations are the unsung heroes of the kitchen industry.
Entry to the FEJ Awards opens on Wednesday 21 February. Downloadable nomination forms will be available on www.foodserviceequipmentjournal.com
The FEJ Awards takes place on the first night of the 2018 Commercial Kitchen show, Tuesday 5 June, at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole. Commercial Kitchen is the Supporting Partner of the 2018 FEJ Awards.