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.

The COEX Innovation Awards recognize national and regional chain operators in two categories: one for culinary/operations and another for marketing/service. Winners are selected by a committee of industry peers from a pool of nominees submitted by IFMA manufacturer members throughout the year.

IFMA’s COEX Innovation Awards present an outstanding way to show chain operator customers how much their suppliers care about them. It builds good will that brings enormous value to manufacturer companies, both with chain operator clients and internally. Each winner is nominated by an IFMA member who is looking to “go a little further” to show how much they cared about their customers. The end result has proven to be a big hit with both the winners and the companies that nominated them.


Helping professionals gain recognition for their hard work is one of the more rewarding parts of nominating a company for an Innovation Award. Awards such as these are very motivating and encourage long-term innovation with multi-unit regional and national accounts.

Following is an overview of all the key benefits when the companies you nominate win an IFMA Award:

Building Customer Relations
Winning candidates are honored during one of IFMA’s biggest events of the year, COEX. An exclusive video documenting each winner’s accomplishments are shown at the conference, right before the award is presented to your customer. What better way is there to go above and beyond and show your very best customers how much you care about them?
Gain Industry Wide Exposure
If your nominee wins an award, your company’s name will be presented along with the winner in front of an audience of executive-level decision-makers who represent chain operators, manufacturers, distributors and other industry partner companies. In addition, nominating companies will also be included in a host of other promotions, which include: an industry media announcement, social media outreach, articles on IFMA’s website, inclusion in awards promo materials presented to winners, media coverage and more.
Advocate for the Industry
COEX Innovation Awards provide an opportunity to showcase how the foodservice industry continues to bring excellence to operators, while also creating appealing options for consumers to enjoy. Nominating a company for an award gives you, too, an opportunity to be recognized as an advocate for the industry, which helps generate good will and more favorable business operations with all companies within the foodservice supply chain.

The nomination process is quick and easy. It takes about 10 minutes to complete an Innovation Award Nomination survey. Individuals looking to nominate should work with their operator customers to obtain needed facts and figures. A lot of this information can be obtained through an operator’s marketing communications department, whose professionals are usually very open to help gain these materials for the submission process.

December 13, 2017 is the deadline to submit nominations for the 2018 COEX Innovation Awards, which will be presented during IFMA Chain Operators Exchange (COEX), taking place in Las Vegas, March 18-20, 2018.