National Restaurant Show 2024 Kitchen Innovations Awards: the winners

The National Restaurant Show’s annual Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards program celebrated the back of house innovations that improve operations and generate growth

The National Restaurant Show 2024, which came to a close on Tuesday May 21, saw the 20th Anniversary of the Kitchen Innovations Awards (KI Awards).

The KI Awards program has come to define “the gold standard of foodservice equipment innovations”, says the Show’s organizers, as it recognizes “new and enhanced technologies that elevate automation, efficiency, safety and sustainability waste solutions, and more within the foodservice industry.”

The KI Awards celebrate “forward-thinking, cutting-edge equipment that’s making a significant impact on the foodservice industry,” and are judged by an independent, expert-led panel of judges from a variety of backgrounds. This year Awards program judges included FCSI Professional members Lenny Condenzio FCSI, Richard Eisenbarth FCSI and Foster Frable FCSI, alongside representatives from Inspire Brands, Aramark, Cracker Barrel, the US Air Force, and Walt Disney World Resort.

Below is a recap of the 2024 recipients of the Kitchen Innovations Awards.

The full list of winners:

Alpha Cloud-Patty Quality Assistant by Aniai: A burger cooking robot that features cloud-based AI capable of accurately detecting patty color and evaluating quality in real-time, using advanced vision sensors throughout the cooking process.

OrderHQ Exterior Smart Food Locker Solution from Apex Order Pickup: This locker offers a patent-pending air circulation system that maintains ambient temperatures against a wide range of weather conditions.

Auto Seasoning & Auto Packaging Station from Atosa USA, Inc.: 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.

ImVection IMV-4E from Blodgett Ovens: 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.

E-Series 24G by Broaster Company: The only infrared, forced-air, high-volume 8-head pressure fryer in its class to offer 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. 

Nexa Concentrates 2.0 Hand Hygiene System from Ecolab: The 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. 

Rapid Multi Surface Disinfectant Cleaner by Ecolab: The Cleaner pairs short contact time with an easy-to-use, time efficient and cost-effective design by reducing the need for multiple products.

Everpure EZ-RO Reverse Osmosis System from Pentair Water Systems: 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. 

Evo EVent Open Canopy Hood from Evo America: 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. 

Mytico Due by Franke Coffee Systems: 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. 

Aura by HenkelmanThis is a next-gen vacuum-packaging system that automatically tailors a packaging solution to many food categories. 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 from Hobart: This equipment features a unique capless wash arm design, significantly reducing the time required for machine cleaning and deliming.

TRI-TEMP Kold Pak Pizza Prep Tabletop by Kwick Cool: The Tabletop combines a retarder cabinet, Bluetooth controller for remote monitoring of temperature zones, and an insulating system for improved temperature stability, plus a new sensor that fine-tunes food temperature changes.

PizzaBot by Lab2FabThe 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.

Discrete CFV by Newton CFVNewton’s new Discrete CFV (Constant Flow Valve) is a 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. 

Torq Fryer by Pitco Frialator: The TorQ fryer boasts a unique combination of attributes: First, a 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. 

iCareSystem Auto Dose from Rational USAThe iCareSystem uses solid cleaner and solid deliming cartridges that are recyclable and housed within the combi itself. The software determines exact dosages as conditions warrant. 

Y-Valve by 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. 

I-robo by TechMagic Inc.: 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.

True Ice by True Manufacturing: The new True Ice machine features True’s patented Sanitary Evaporator, designed to be fully sealed for preventing 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.

CHEFTOP-X  Digital.ID from UNOX: 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. 

ERGO Series by Varimixer: Ergonomic, innovative, hygienic, and simple to maintain, the ERGO is leading the industry. No other mixer meets these rigid standards, from the touch screen display and customizable recipes to the waterproof IP rating.

Xpress Multipurpose Cooktop from WaringThe XPress™ Multipurpose Cooktop’s dual-heated, nonstick, 13.5-inch aluminum cooking surfaces evenly cooks both sides of the crêpe simultaneously, minimizing prep time and maximizing output. Great for warming/cooking tortillas, quesadillas, omelets, pancakes, pizza dough and more.

Cervizi by 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.

The M5 Bargun by Wunder-Bar: 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.