The Silver Plate Awards are the industry’s most prestigious awards, presented annually by IFMA in recognition of lasting and outstanding contributions to the advancement of the foodservice industry. IFMA has proudly sponsored the Gold & Silver Plate Awards for 69 years. IFMA is an association of food, equipment and supplies manufacturers, distributors, brokers, trade publications and support service companies.

Basis of Eligibility

Any person, worldwide, engaged in the active ownership, management, supervision of or employment at an establishment in one of the designated operator award categories listed below is eligible to receive an IFMA Silver Plate Award. To win an IFMA Silver Plate Award, the person must be actively employed. The Gold Plate recipient is selected by secret ballot from among the prior year’s Silver Plate winners and editors from leading foodservice publications and industry experts. Nominees from previous years may be renominated.

Gold Silver Plate Logo

Awards Criteria

The Silver Plate Awards recognize professionals who have demonstrated foodservice industry segment leadership and noteworthy achievement and have made lasting contributions to the advancement of the industry. Silver Plate nominees should:

  • Have spent at least two years in foodservice operations management within the nominated segment
  • Have hands-on experience and knowledge that is well founded within the foodservice industry
  • Show a commitment to foodservice as a lifetime career
  • Maintain the highest standards of ethical and moral behavior
  • Demonstrate outstanding leadership and innovation in such areas as financial & operational management, human resource programs and menu/concept execution
  • Demonstrate strong support of association and industry-related activities in order to promote, protect and enhance the industry and its image
  • Demonstrate a sense of civic pride through voluntary involvement in societal activities


Nominations may be submitted by anyone in the industry. IFMA members who nominate Silver Plate winners will be recognized in press mentions, during the event, and in pre- and post-event materials. IFMA member nominators will also be asked to escort their award recipient down the red carpet at the awards celebration on May 18, 2024. 

Award Category Definitions – Operators in:

1. Independent Restaurants/Multi-Concept Operator

Includes companies that may have multiple foodservice establishments operating under the same name/trademark or different names/trademarks. At these establishments, dinner may be the primary meal but they also may serve lunch. These establishments have: custom cooking of a broad/full menu, wait service to patrons seated at tables, professional chefs/cooks and satisfy patrons’ needs for business or entertainment purposes in a relaxed ambiance. Adult beverages may be served in dining room/cocktail lounge. A company in this category may have up to 9 units under the same name. if there are 10 or more units under the same name, then the company will be considered a chain.

2. Chain Full Service

Includes companies that have 10 or more foodservice establishments operating under the same name/trademark or different names/ trademarks and maintain some degree of centralized/multi-regional control.

Establishments generally with (but not restricted to) a moderate price position (determined by average check per diner), chain full service means on-premise consumption, pre-prepared and/or scratch food preparation with wait staff. Menu may be specialized, narrowly focused or mainstream. Operations may or may not serve adult beverages.

Eligible establishments include, but are not limited to, casual dining or family dining, fine dining, coffee houses, steak houses, pancake houses and sandwich shops.

3. Chain Limited Service

Includes companies that have 10 or more foodservice establishments operating under the same name/trademark and that maintain some degree of centralized/multi-regional control.

Lunch may be the primary meal, but they may serve dinner and/or breakfast. Service is limited. Includes but is not limited to chains specializing in hamburgers, chicken, pizza or ethnic food (i.e. Mexican, Chinese); sandwich shops; doughnut shops; frozen custard, yogurt or ice cream stores.

4. Healthcare

  • Healthcare: Includes most non-profit, for-profit and government-run public hospitals – patient, employee and guest feeding.
  • Retirement Centers, Nursing Homes & Senior-Living Facilities: Includes skilled nursing homes, nursing and personal care facilities, and residential care facilities – patient, employee and guest feeding.

5. Elementary & Secondary Schools

Includes foodservice in elementary and secondary schools (Grades K-12) and related public and private school systems.

6. Colleges & Universities

Includes higher education institutions beyond Grade 12. Includes foodservice served in public and private colleges, universities, vocational, business and technical schools, and military and military academy foodservice.

7. Business & Industry/Foodservice Management

Includes all operators within the corporate dining sector and senior foodservice management personnel with multi-segment responsibilities. Category encompasses:

  • Independent corporate dining self-operators
  • On-premise office and in-plant liaisons
  • Executive or regional management-level personnel from professional foodservice management companies with multi-segment responsibility (i.e. operations in more than one segment such as health care, colleges and universities, correctional feeding, etc.)

IMPORTANT: Foodservice management company personnel with multi-unit or single-unit responsibility in one segment only must be nominated in that segment category.

8. Grocery, Convenience, & Specialty Retail

Includes foodservice professionals from such operations as convenience stores, and supermarket foodservice operations. department store and retail store foodservices (ie. in-retail coffee shops, specialty counters).

9. Travel & Leisure Foodservice

Includes hotel and motel management and foodservice professionals at every level of foodservice in establishments that provide both lodging and foodservice to the general public. Includes banquet, off-premises caterers, room service, full service, coffee houses, snack shops, lounges, cruise ships, clubs, etc. Also includes foodservice leaders in establishments at theme parks, stadiums and sports arenas; museums; and airlines.

The deadline for nominations was November 17, 2023. Nominations are now closed. For questions related to the IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards, please contact