2018 COEX Innovation Award Recipients

Posted by IFMA February 22, 2018

Tagged in COEX COEX Innovation Awards

The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA), named four chain operators as recipients of the 2018 COEX Innovation Awards. Chick-fil-A, Culver’s, Shake Shack and Wendy’s will be honored March 20 at the IFMA Chain Operators EXchange (COEX) conference in Las Vegas.

“Innovation can demonstrate a clear ROI and has for these award winning companies,” said IFMA President & CEO, Larry Oberkfell. “When pressure to repeat the same old approach to the consumer loses out to innovation, these winners increase the distance from their competitors. Congratulations to this year’s winners for raising the bar for our industry!" 

The IFMA 2018 COEX Innovation Awards, sponsored by Sargento Foods and Surlean Foods, are presented to a national and regional chain operator in the following categories:

Culinary/Operations Innovation Award—recognizes companies that demonstrate true innovation in one or more back-of-house areas including food preparation, quality and/or presentation; introduction of new menu items, addressing trends that drive consumer behavior and operational systems.

  • Chick-fil-A – COEX 2018 Innovation Award winner, Culinary/Operations, National Chain Category, nominated by Sargento Foods. Chick-fil-A rose above its already exceptional reputation for flavor in delighting its loyal fan base with a superior summertime LTO and its first-ever seasonal entree: The Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich.
  • Shake Shack – COEX 2018 Innovation Award winner, Culinary/Operations, Regional Chain Category, nominated by McCain Foods. Shake Shack puts the customer experience first by focusing on quality and innovation. They're not satisfied by just having a burger but strive to have the best burger, shakes and fries. Whenever they take on a new project they make sure that the quality of the food item is the best.

Marketing/Service Innovation Award—recognizes companies that demonstrate true innovation in one or more of such front-of-house areas as communications/advertising/promotions to drive customer attraction and retention; use of social media, wait staff training, incentive programs and ambience and décor.

  • Wendy’s – COEX 2018 Innovation Award winner, Marketing/Service, National Chain Category, nominated by Surlean Foods. Wendy's might be named after a sweet little girl but don't be fooled by that seemingly innocent exterior. Beneath that sigh lurks a world of sass as worldwide social media users have recently been discovering. The fresh burger chain is well known for its square burgers, chili and Frosty's but recently they've started serving double helpings of "shut the hell up" to anybody brave enough to take them on via Twitter.
  • Culver’s – COEX 2018 Innovation Award winner, Marketing/Service, Regional Chain Category, nominated by Sargento Foods. Culver’s repeatedly demonstrates an affinity for connecting with their customers through innovative marketing and public relations programs that support causes that are important to the communities they serve. “A Hero’s Welcome” and “Unbridled Thanks” are two examples of ads that focus only secondarily on products but draw viewers in and create loyal customers by eliciting a powerful emotional connection to the brand.

Join us in celebrating these outstanding chain operators at IFMA’s upcoming Chain Operators Exchange (COEX), March 18- 20 in Las Vegas.

Click here to learn more about the COEX Innovation Awards.


Login To Gain Access To This Content
Mar 18

Chain Operators EXchange (COEX)

The IFMA Chain Operators EXchange (COEX) enables chain operators to take advantage of business building insights and create personal connections with leading manufacturers. With dozens of high-profile operators on the planning committee, the program truly is created "by operators, for operators."

COEX Innovation Awards: Honor Chain Operators

Participating in an IFMA Awards program is one of the best ways for members to maximize participation in many of IFMA’s largest events. Specifically, nominating an operator for a COEX Innovation Award, brings significant opportunities to build customer relations, gain national exposure and serve as an important advocate for the foodservice industry.

COEX Executive Summary—Consumer Food Journey

Jack Li discussed current research that is focused on understanding how consumers make decisions around food and how those decisions impact the foodservice industry at COEX 2017. Read the executive summary now!

This Consumer Makes Up 29% of the U.S. Population and Dines Out Most

Since today’s food consumer has drastically transformed, the Consumer Planning Program (CPP) Committee was formed to address the growing needs of the industry with Richer, Smarter, Bigger Consumer Data – All in One Smart Spend Package. Do you want the opportunity to delve deeper into the consumer mindset and drive the focus of future studies? Read more. 

CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder Outlines Key Foodservice Industry Trends 2016

As a visionary and leader of change in the foodservice industry, CKE Restaurants, Inc. CEO, Andy Puzder, expressed his views on the ever-changing foodservice landscape at IFMA COEX 2016. His comments focused on key COEX topics, including: how young consumers, restaurant technology, and government regulations play a role in influencing trends in the industry.

Top 5 Reasons to Attend IFMA COEX

The content on deck for IFMA COEX 2016 will cater to all types of foodservice professionals, including Supply Chain, Culinary, Executive Leadership, Marketing and Insights. Thought-leaders will share valuable perspectives and experiences on hot-button issues - in Vegas! Get ready to connect, learn and have fun. 

Andrew Puzder of CKE Restaurants to Keynote IFMA COEX

Andrew Puzder is credited with turning around both the Hardee’s brand and CKE, allowing the company to survive, become financially secure and return to growth after it had faced serious financial and operational issues. In his opening keynote, Puzder will share strategies for success and lessons learned during his time as chief executive officer.  

Why Nominating Customers for IFMA Awards can Bring Big Returns

Participating in an IFMA Awards program is one of the best ways for members to maximize participation in many of IFMA’s largest events. Specifically, nominating an operator or distributor for an IFMA Award brings significant opportunities to build customer relations, gain national exposure and serve as an important advocate for the foodservice industry.

IFMA Chain Operators EXchange (COEX) 2015 Executive Summary Series

Everyone who attended IFMA COEX 2015 in Las Vegas was abuzz about the number 32. Why? Because Smashburger Founder & Chief Concept Officer Tom Ryan announced during his keynote presentation that "to stay relevant on an ongoing basis, brands must maintain the mindset of a 32-year old." He then went on to describe two other reasons his chain is achieving substantial and profitable growth. Tom Ryan's keynote address and several other powerful presentations are covered as part of the 2015 IFMA Chain Operators EXchange (COEX) Executive Summary Series. 

Beyond the Inflection Point: Looking Ahead at the Consumer to Come

Executives in foodservice and other consumer-facing businesses need to be watching not just trends in their industry but trends in society at large. Societal trends have the potential to dramatically disrupt today’s market dynamics, bringing new opportunities to forward-thinking market players. While addressing attendees at IFMA's 2015 Chain Operators EXchange event, J. Walker Smith of the the Futures Company outlined five important inflection points on the horizon, heralding societal changes rooted in demographic shifts and technological advances.

Leadership Panel: Building a Winning Team

It has been said that the customer isn’t always right, yet must always be heard. The same is true of all key stakeholders. Restaurant chain leaders face a complex job in balancing the needs of multiple constituent groups and fostering the degree of communication and collaboration among them that is necessary for innovation and strategy execution. Leaders from five national and regional chain operators provided their insights on this topic at IFMA COEX 2015.