The National Restaurant Association is seeking applicants for the 2013 Faces of Diversity Award, 2013 Restaurant Neighbor Award, and the Kids Recipe Challenge. Applications and nominees to all three competitions are accepted online until January 7, 2013.

The NRA and PepsiCo Foodservice created the Faces of Diversity program in 2006. The award recognizes and promotes diversity in the restaurant industry and its ability to help individuals achieve the “American Dream.” Restaurant operators can apply or nominate a fellow industry professional.

Three individuals from diverse backgrounds will be honored with the American Dream award. Applications will be judged on three criteria:

–       Background—what does the “American dream” mean to this person and how did they achieve it?

–       Achievements—what obstacles has this person had to overcome?

–       Impact on others: How has this person helped or is helping others to achieve their own American dream? Are they a leader in their community?

Winners will be chosen by a NRA judging panel in February 2013. They will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to be honored at an awards ceremony, and will also receive a $2,500 scholarship in their name for a student pursuing a career in the restaurant and hospitality industry. A video will also be produced to showcase each winner’s achievements.

The Restaurant Neighbor Award honors restaurants for outstanding community involvement and innovative community programs. The award was developed by the NRA and partner American Express to raise awareness about restaurant contributions to local communities. Restaurants can apply or be nominated by individuals.

Participating state restaurant associations select up to four winners from their state to compete for the national award. The state winners are forwarded to the NRA to compete for one of four national awards—one small business, one mid-size business, one large business/national chain, and one humanitarian of the year.

Applicants should be involved in a community program or have a project with impact in the community through funds or direct volunteer involvement. Applications will be judged on two factors:

–       Commitment/Involvement—how long has the restaurant been involved in community activities, and how did the program evolve? How is staff involved?

–       Impact—What impact has the restaurant’s involvement had, or will have, on the community?

Each state winner will receive a plaque to display in his or her restaurant, and the restaurant’s community service program will be highlighted in a special community service section on the NRA website. The national winners will receive $5,000 to support his or her favorite charity or community project and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the gala awards dinner in April 2013.

The final competition, the Kids Recipe Challenge, showcases restaurants creating healthful items for kids. The contest was created in partnership with McCormick For Chefs and will recognize the best recipes on children’s menus at restaurants and other foodservice establishments.

Restaurants interested in participating can submit one or more recipes that meet the nutritional guidelines of the NRA’s Kids LiveWell initiative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate program. National winners will be honored in four categories—multi-unit company with more than 20 units, independent restaurant or company with fewer than 20 units, contract-managed food service, and independent noncommercial food service.

Applicants will be assessed on the following criteria:

–       Tasty and delicious

–       Nutritional value (restaurants must submit a nutritional analysis with their recipe. If the restaurant does not have access to this analysis, the NRA will provide the analysis)

–       Creativity and originality

–       Ease of preparation

–       Cost (including cost per serving, if possible)

–       Presentation

A panel of industry professionals will narrow down the top recipes, and a group of elementary school children will select the ultimate winners. Winners receive a $1,500 cash prize and an all-expense paid trip to Chicago to be honored at the 2013 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show in May, as well as recognition in NRA’s public relations and marketing efforts. 

Apply for the Faces of Diversity Award, Restaurant Neighbor Award, or Kids Recipe Challenge.

Industry News, Marketing & Promotions, National Restaurant Association