Kennesaw State University finalist for National Restaurant Association’s 2013 Operator Innovations Awards

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Culinary and Hospitality Services recognized as an innovator in sustainability KENNESAW, Ga. (…

Georgia (Apr 1, 2013)Culinary and Hospitality Services recognized as an innovator in sustainability

KENNESAW, Ga. (April 1, 2013) —An independent panel of foodservice operators from across the industry has selected Kennesaw State University’s Culinary and Hospitality Services as one of three finalists for the 2013 Operator Innovations Awards in Sustainability.

“Traditionally, the National Restaurant Association has focused on the restaurant side of the food industry, so we’re thrilled they have created avenues for college and university dining to be recognized,” said Gary Coltek, director of Culinary and Hospitality Services, which manages all food service operations at Kennesaw State. “The nomination alone is an honor and is a testament to our commitment to sustainability.”

In naming the University a finalist, the National Restaurant Association cited: “The University’s 5,000 guest/day dining operation incorporates a comprehensive, closed-loop waste management program through a variety of efforts, including a robust organic "Farm-to-Campus-to-Farm" program, water reclamation, aerobic digestion, composting/recycling programs, oil-to-biodiesel conversion and more to significantly reduce costs, minimize environmental impact and qualify the facility for a LEED Gold certification.”

“We’re giving the students what they want,” Coltek said. “Our students are very savvy. They want to know where their food comes from; how it gets here; and what we do with it once it does get here. Hopefully, we can inspire other universities to do the same thing.”

Three finalists in five distinct categories: Food Safety, Health and Nutrition, Menu Development, Sustainability and Technology will be brought to Chicago for the 2013 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Showin May. The winners in each category, as well as an “Innovator of the Year” selected from all finalists, will be announced live in Chicago during the Destination: Celebration gala on Saturday, May 18.

“Restaurant operators are coming up with new and better ways to do business every day,” said Jeffrey W. Davis, Convention Chair for NRA Show 2013 and IWSB and CEO of the United States Beef Corporation. “The prestigious Operator Innovations Awards celebrate and drive continued advancement industry-wide, fueling customer satisfaction and profitability. We recognize their achievements with the Operator Innovations Awards. Earning one of these highly sought-after awards means bragging rights and publicity for years to come.”

Through its farm-to-campus program, Kennesaw State harvests honey from 42 bee colonies and grows herbs and heirloom variety fruits and vegetables on 65 acres across three organic campus farms. Future plans include programs to produce aged cheese and organic dairy, olive orchards and an oil press on the farm.

The National Restaurant Association recognition is the latest in a string of accolades for Culinary and Hospitality Services.

Last summer, Kennesaw State joined Stanford and the University of Massachusetts in receiving top honors from the National Association of College and University Food Services for sustainability outreach and education. In September, The Daily Meal, an online publication dedicated to culinary trends and news, ranked Culinary and Hospitality Services 10th in its “52 Best Colleges for Food in America.” Kennesaw State was also listed in The Princeton Review’s “Guide to 322 Green Colleges” in 2012.

In addition, in 2011 Kennesaw State was ranked among the top 25 schools for best food by Newsweek.


Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 80 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing, and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of 24,600 students from more than 130 countries.


The annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest single gathering of restaurant, foodservice and lodging professionals. NRA Show 2013 will be held May 18-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago, and the 2013 International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event held in conjunction with the NRA Show will take place May 19-20. The events attract 61,000+ attendees and visitors from all 50 states and 100+ countries, and showcases the latest products, services, innovative ideas, up-to-the-minute information about trends and issues and more growth opportunities than any other industry event. For more information, visit the Show and IWSB websites at and

Contact: Jennifer Hafer, 770-423-6711,



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit