National Restaurant Association Show to Honor Top Technology Innovations in Its 2024 Kitchen Awards

Submitted Announcement

The 25 KI Awards recipients reflect the current priorities of foodservice operators, showcasing advancements in automation, efficiency, safety enhancements and sustainability. (Shown here: Alpha Cloud – Patty Quality Assistant from Iniai)

The National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show®, the epicenter of foodservice innovation and a showcase of emerging industry trends, is pleased to announce the 25 recipients of the 2024 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards. Since 2005, the KI Awards program has been renowned for its role in defining the gold standard of foodservice equipment innovations. These 25 KI Awards recipients reflect the current priorities of foodservice operators, showcasing advancements in automation, efficiency, safety enhancements and sustainability. This year’s recipients will be showcased at the 2024 National Restaurant Association Show, taking place May 18–21, 2024, at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Tom Cindric, President of the National Restaurant Association Show, remarked, “The KI Awards have been instrumental in defining excellence and driving innovation within the foodservice industry for two decades. The evolving landscape of technology—including developments in AI, robotic solutions, autonomous ordering and customer service—has elevated the KI Awards to expand beyond back-of-house operations to also recognize innovations that offer labor, waste, and energy savings. As we celebrate this milestone, we are proud to honor the impact of the KI Awards in recognizing groundbreaking solutions that address the ever-evolving needs of foodservice operators.”

The KI Award recipients were selected by an independent panel of judges comprised of industry leaders representing international brands across foodservice, including Aramark, Cracker Barrel, Walt Disney World Resort and the U.S. Air Force. The esteemed panel carefully reviews each nominee and has chosen to recognize these 25 recipients as the year’s most forward-thinking and cutting-edge kitchen and product innovations, which not only elevate foodservice operations but also significantly contribute to industry progress.

The 2024 Kitchen Innovations Awards recipients are:

Alpha Cloud – Patty Quality Assistant
Following closely after the intro of Aniai’s 2023 KI honoree, the burger cooking robot, ‘Alpha Grill’, features Cloud-based AI (Artificial Intelligence) ‘Alpha Cloud’ to discern the color of the hamburger patties and assess their quality through real-time vision sensors during the cooking process. Alpha Cloud promptly notifies the cooking staff about patty quality, ensuring rigorous and enhanced quality control.

OrderHQ™ Exterior Smart Food Locker Solution
Apex Order Pickup Solutions
The OrderHQ Exterior Smart Food Locker makes the leap to through-the-wall order pickup with a patent-pending air circulation system that maintains ambient temperatures against a wide range of weather conditions. It incorporates multiple technologies to automate off-premises order management, security, sensing and handoff, while eliminating order theft and reducing crowding from delivery drivers and takeout customers.

Auto Seasoning & Auto Packaging Station
Atosa USA, Inc.
Picking up where its 2023 KI honoree, the Intelligent French Fry Robotic Solution, leaves off, this new Robotic Auto Seasoning and Auto Packaging Station replaces a standard dump station and includes a dumping port for French fries, as well as optional additional storage for up to two other items. The kitchen staff or robotic arm dumps the fries, then robotics seasons the fries according to programmed salt weights, portions the fries by size (L/M/S/K) of carton according to orders, and delivers the filled French fry cartons to the pickup area, ensuring first in, first out.

ImVection IMV-4E
Blodgett Ovens
Talk about flexibility, the new ImVection oven offers four chambers, each providing your choice of convection or impingement, either by manual choice or using menu programming in cooking stages— all at the touch of a single touchscreen controller, via a sophisticated patent-pending motorized “shuffling jet plate” system which aligns air holes for either convection or impingement cooking. Other notables: It’s ventless, provides one variable-speed fan per chamber; and a multiplexor that targets power when and where needed.

E-Series 24G
Broaster Company
Meet the new E-Series 24G, the only infrared, forced-air, high-volume 8-head pressure fryer in its class to offer such a lengthy features list: dual powered lift, built-in automatic oil filtration, automatic oil top-off, automatic pressure release, one-touch cook cycle, and programmable touchscreen user interface with a 5-stage cooking capability that can swing from pressure to open frying in the same cook cycle. Connectivity options and rear-oil discharge are available.

Nexa™ Concentrates 2.0 Hand Hygiene System
Ecolab’s innovative Nexa™ Concentrates Hand Hygiene System provides cost savings, workflow benefits, and helps with sustainability. The refillable bottles allow operators to proactively refill hand soap and sanitizer dispensers, streamlining processes, and helping to ensure guests won’t encounter empty dispensers. The concentrated chemistry significantly reduces plastic waste and freight costs by up to 90%*, along with saving storage space for crowded back-of-house shelves. *based on a 1:10 dilution ratio for Nexa Concentrates compared to standard 750 mL packaging.

Rapid Multi Surface Disinfectant Cleaner
Looking to simplify cleaning with one product across a variety of spaces and surfaces? Ecolab’s Rapid Multi Surface Disinfectant Cleaner pairs short contact time with an easy-to-use, time-efficient and cost-effective design by reducing the need for multiple products. This 4-in-1 disinfectant cleaner delivers streak-free performance on glass and soft surface disinfection. It kills SARS-CoV-2 in just 10 seconds and Norovirus, Influenza A and B virus, Common Cold virus and RSV in 30 seconds. The active ingredient is biodegradable. For more information on disinfection claims visit:

Evo EVent® Open Canopy Hood
Evo America, LLC
Evo America has redefined the limits of ventless with the launch of the EVent Open Canopy Hood that uses ozone and cyclonic separation to remove grease-laden vapors from the effluent so effectively that it can accommodate high-volume ventless frying and cooking proteins simultaneously. The Evo EVent unit is UL-approved for use with electric cooking equipment including fryers, griddles, ovens, broilers and more.

Mytico Due
Franke Coffee Systems
Elegance AND performance: Franke’s new Mytico Due launches a new category by blending the beauty and elegance of traditional Italian espresso-machine design with modern, intuitive coffee- quality-focused interfaces and controls for the barista. Mytico Due provides perfectly consistent shot times via patented iQFlow technology, consistent barista-quality steamed milk via Autosteam Pro S3 steam wands, and flexibility for customizable water temperatures for both coffees and teas.

Unlike any other vacuum-packaging system on the market, Aura goes beyond basic controls and limited software choices for just a few food-product options to another level. The full-color H-Touch control displays images of food categories, and based on which image is tapped, the machine chooses one of dozens of predefined cycles automatically, ensuring the correct functions in the machine are switched on or off.

CL Rack Conveyor Dishmachine
Greatly simplified, improved cleaning/maintenance: Unlike other conveyor dishmachines, which use wash arms with screw-on caps, the Hobart CL features a unique capless wash arm design, significantly reducing the time required for machine cleaning and eliminating lost end caps. And where most conveyors rely on manual deliming that invites overdosing and doesn’t include the booster heater, the CL automates the whole process and runs the delimer through the booster heater as well.

TRI-TEMP Kold Pak Pizza Prep Tabletop
Kwick Cool
Start with an integrated retarder cabinet, a Carel Bluetooth controller/app for remote monitoring/control of three temperature zones (medium and low temps for each), and the patented Kold Pak insulating system for greatly improved temperature stability. Then add the biggest dollar saver—a new sensor that measures temperatures within a small cylindrical cartridge inside the cabinet that is filled with a glycerin-based mixture that mimics how food temps change (as opposed to air temps) when compartment doors are opened/closed. The results include greatly reduced compressor cycling, service calls, etc.

PizzaBot™ automates the pizza-making process from formed dough, application of sauce and toppings, to fully baked. Just like most pizzaiolos and major pizza chains, the PizzaBot™ automated pizza-making system applies toppings in concentric circles. This allows customers the ability to program PizzaBot™ the same way the culinary team has prescribed in their build sheets. PizzaBot™ consistently adds toppings such as sauce, cheese, pepperoni, sausage and more both quickly and accurately. The end result is a better and more consistent product with less waste and less intensive tasks for kitchen staff.

Discrete CFV
Newton CFV
Conventional Ceramic Based Flow Control Valves in drink systems are prone to wear and going out of adjustment (drift), causing wrong ratios, poor taste and pour-outs. Newton’s new Discrete CFV (Constant Flow Valve) ends all that. The new plug-and-play retrofit for conventional ceramic-based flow control valves provides a fixed flow rate, factory set ratio that does not require calibration and does not drift. The improvement in beverage quality, reduction in waste, and service savings are significant improvements for the end users.

Everpure EZ-RO Reverse Osmosis System
Everpure from Pentair Water Solutions
Taking reverse osmosis to the next level, the EZ-RO System solves the water-consumption issue with an advanced RO membrane that achieves up to 50% water recovery compared to half that for conventional systems. Demand increasing? EZ-RO is modular, so just add on. The system comes with everything you need, the footprint is small, and the system can be mounted on the wall, placed freestanding, or installed under counter.

Torq Fryer
The TorQ fryer comes to market with a unique combination of attributes: First, a unique pivoting filter arm raises the filter up out of the oil, making for quick, easy filter changes and reduced downtime. In addition, forced convection creates efficient heating and reduced recovery and cook times, and continuous filtration also reduces labor time, while a unique tank wash/drain system neatly gathers particulates and flushes them efficiently.

iCareSystem AutoDose
Automated combi cleaning systems can be overcomplicated. Staff may not clean equipment often or properly; they could use too much or not enough cleaning chemicals, risking equipment damage. Tab doses may not be optimal for the cleaning required. RATIONAL’s new system, automatic or fully automated, uses solid cleaner and solid de-liming cartridges that are recyclable and housed within the combi itself. The software determines exact dosages as conditions warrant.

T&S Brass and Bronze Works
The S-0107-Y spray-valve is a patented product specifically designed to enhance cleaning efficiency while minimizing the amount of time and water needed for ware washing. This innovative spray-valve holds both design and utility patents. The integration of the spray face and bumper as a one-piece replaceable component eliminates the hold-down screw and other multiple replaceable parts found in other designs.

TechMagic Inc
And now for something completely different: I-Robo not only cooks numerous stir-fry recipes with chef- quality sophistication, streamlining every step, from seasoning distribution to pan cleaning. It also employs AI Culinary Science to customize and develop, providing personalized cooking experiences by auto-adjusting cooking parameters to individual tastes. All of it fits in a compact footprint of just 840W x 853D x 1286H mm (33.1” x 33.6” x 50.6”).

True Ice
True Manufacturing Co. Inc
The new True Ice machine features True’s patented Sanitary Evaporator, designed to be fully sealed to prevent mold and other microbial contamination. With superior insulation, it also enables increased ice production while slashing energy consumption – earning an ultra-efficient ENERGY STAR rating of 3.95kWh/100lbs that rivals 1,000 lb. per day remote condensing systems. This groundbreaking evaporator technology delivers unprecedented food safety, output, and sustainability (reinventing how efficiently ice can be produced on-site).

CHEFTOP-X™ Digital.ID™
High-tech features keep coming: The new CHEFTOP-X™ combi comes with AI, a state-of-the-art OS, and a built-in microphone enabling voice control. An optical sensor allows it to recognize foods and start cooking programs automatically. AI interacts with the chef, asking for feedback on cooking results to optimize its performance and giving consumption tips to reduce users’ environmental footprint.

ERGO Series
Imagine a mixer where tradition meets innovation, where efficiency meets comfort and perfection is repeatable. You don’t have to. Ergonomic, innovative, hygienic, and simple to maintain, the ERGO is leading the industry. No other mixer meets these rigid standards, from the touchscreen display and customizable recipes to the waterproof IP rating. The ERGO is in a class of its own.

XPress™ Multipurpose Cooktop
Waring Commercial Products
Crêpe making, simplified and perfected. Want perfectly formed, virtually hands-off crêpes in 30 seconds, start to finish? The XPress™ Multipurpose Cooktop’s dual-heated, nonstick, 13.5-inch aluminum cooking surfaces evenly cook both sides of the crêpe simultaneously, minimizing prep time and maximizing output. Great for warming/cooking tortillas, quesadillas, omelets, pancakes, pizza dough and more.

Wild Goose Filling
Cervizi from Wild Goose Filling transforms the beer dispensing experience for bartenders, customers, and bar owners. Alleviating inefficiencies of traditional draft beer systems, Cervizi reduces product waste, improves service efficiency and offers data to streamline business operations and increase revenue. Cervizi applies proven Wild Goose technology used to package billions of canned beverages to offer draft beer a better way.

The M5 Bargun
The bargun reimagined – lighter weight, ergonomic contours, faster flow rates, and accurate no-drift controls. The new M5 Bargun increases performance to 2.5 oz/second, a 67% improvement over the typical 1.5 oz pour. The M5 manifold incorporates CFV technology for factory-set consistent ratios and eliminates the need for adjustment common with legacy ceramic flow controls.

These recipients will be featured in the Kitchen Innovations Showroom in the South Hall of the McCormick Place during the National Restaurant Association Show. Additionally, a special session titled “The Kitchen of the Future: Kitchen Innovations Awardees Paving the Way for What’s Next” will be held on Saturday, May 18 at 3:30 p.m., providing attendees with insights into the future of kitchen technology and innovation.

The 2024 KI Awards underscore the National Restaurant Association Show’s commitment to recognizing and promoting the most advanced solutions that meet the evolving needs of foodservice operators. This year’s recipients exemplify the industry’s dedication to innovation, efficiency, and sustainability, paving the way for the future of foodservice operations.

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