Press Releases

May 21, 2013

HMSHost Selected as Top Innovator at National Restaurant Association’s Operator Innovations Awards

Company recognized for innovation in Menu Development and Food Safety

BETHESDA, MD—Saturday, May 18th was a night of celebration for global restaurateur HMSHost at the National Restaurant Association’s second annual Operator Innovations Awards ceremony in Chicago. HMSHost was selected as the Top Innovator, winning in the Menu Development category, for its Freedom to Choose menu platform. HMSHost also received finalist recognition in the Food Safety category.

“We are ecstatic at the National Restaurant Association’s selection of HMSHost as the winner and Top Innovator of the Operator Innovations Awards’ Menu Development category,” said HMSHost Chief Operating Officer Pat Banducci. “Receiving this recognition is a tremendous honor, which represents the dedication of HMSHost’s culinary and operations teams to continually refine the travel dining experience for which HMSHost is known.”

The Freedom to Choose platform is an internally developed, web-based tool which gives HMSHost’s restaurant operators access to hundreds of menu items. It enables operators to quickly and easily tailor menus to reflect airport consumer demands and prevalent regional trends. Annamarie Pintozzi, Corporate Chef and Senior Manager Culinary led this initiative for HMSHost. She was present in Chicago to accept the award.

HMSHost’s selection as a Food Safety category finalist was based on the company’s comprehensive approach to food safety. The program features an audit process that goes beyond evaluation to integrate consultation and training, enabling the company to ensure strict, uniform food safety in its airport and motorway travel plaza restaurants. Sheila Bliss, HMSHost Director of Quality Assurance, led this initiative for HMSHost and was present to accept the award as a finalist.

The Operator Innovations Awards ceremony is part of at the 2013 National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show – held May 18-21 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. It is a gathering of industry leaders to celebrate and examine significant industry innovations. These awards recognize successful restaurant and foodservice operators that are leading the progression of the food and beverage industry. Judging is done by a panel of non-partisan judges with a breadth of foodservice industry experience and knowledge.

About HMSHost
Global restaurateur HMSHost is a world leader in creating dining for travel venues. HMSHost operates locations all over North America, and is part of Autogrill Group, the world's leading provider of food & beverage services for people on the move. Visit for more information.