IFMA Announces COEX 2017 Innovation Award Recipients

Posted by IFMA

Tagged in Awards COEX COEX Innovation Awards Innovation Award

CHICAGO, JANUARY 23, 2017—IFMA has named four chain operators as recipients of the 2017 COEX Innovation Awards. Arby’s, Chick-fil-A, Granite City Food & Brewery and Taco John’s will be honored March 7 at the IFMA Chain Operators EXchange (COEX) conference in Las Vegas.

“Winning the consumer today requires exceptional strategy and execution,” said IFMA President & CEO Larry Oberkfell. “These Innovation Award winners are consummate at both, and find a way to stand above their competition during difficult economic times. Congratulations to our winners for demonstrating that innovation is a winning strategy.”

The IFMA 2017 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 (health/wellness, flavor/nutrition, and demographics) and operational systems.

  • Arby’s –COEX 2017 Innovation Award winner, Culinary/Operations, National Chain Category, nominated by Sargento Foods and Stratas Foods. Arby’s strengthened its core position with the “We Have the Meats” tagline and delivered on its promise with nearly two dozen new product introductions in 2016.
  • Taco John’s – COEX 2017 Innovation Award winner, Culinary/Operations, Regional Chain Category, nominated by Surlean Foods. Taco John’s showed success and sales momentum withits Street Taco promotion and recent menu items including the Chicken and Gravy Breakfast Burrito and the new Chicken Quesadilla Taco.

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.

  • Chick-fil-A – COEX 2017 Innovation Award winner, Marketing/Service, National Chain Category, nominated by Saputo Dairy Foods. Chick-fil-A launched a new Frosted Lemonade beverage, which is a hand-spun combination of freshly squeezed Chick-fil-A® Lemonade (or Diet Lemonade) and its famous vanilla IceDream®, so successful it was followed by the launch of its Frosted Coffee beverage.
  • Granite City Food & Brewery – COEX 2017 Innovation Award winner, Marketing/Service, Regional Chain Category, nominated by The J.R. Simplot Company. Granite City has established a strong and effective online, in-store and social media presence using a mix of technical savvy, artistry and financial accountability.

To learn more about IFMA and the COEX 2017 Innovation Awards, visit

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