Delaware North Executive Vice President and COO Rick Abramson has been selected for one of the most prestigious awards in foodservice, the Silver Plate Award presented to top foodservice operators by the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA).
Abramson was one of nine 2016 Silver Plate winners recently announced at IFMA’s Chain Operators Exchange (COEX) conference in Las Vegas. He and the other winners will be honored on May 21 at IFMA’s 62nd Annual Gold & Silver Plate Celebration during the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show in Chicago.
IFMA instituted the Gold & Silver Plate Awards in 1954 to pay tribute to the most outstanding and innovative talents in nine segments of foodservice operations: Independent Restaurants/Multi-Concept, Chain Full Service/Multi-Concept, Chain Limited Service, Business and Industry/Foodservice Management, Health Care, Elementary and Secondary Schools, Colleges and Universities, Specialty Foodservice, and Hotels and Lodging.
Each year, a distinguished jury of trade press editors and previous award winners weighs the merits of hundreds of candidates before selecting the executives who are honored with the Silver Plate Award. From among them, one is chosen by secret ballot to receive the industry's most coveted recognition, the IFMA Gold Plate.
The Gold & Silver Plate Awards are often called "The Academy Awards of Foodservice." Past Silver Plate winners include such legends of foodservice as:
  • Richard Melman, founder of Chicago-based restaurant company Lettuce Entertain You and a James Beard Award recipient for outstanding restauranteur
  • Jon Luther, chairman and former CEO of Dunkin’ Brands and former president of Delaware North’s travel hospitality business
  • Ferdinand Metz, former longtime president of the Culinary Institute of America and a certified master chef
  • Larry Levy, chairman and founder of foodservice company Levy Restaurants, which is now part of the Compass Group
  • Danny Meyer, the New York City restaurateur who is CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group and founder of the Shake Shack chain
  • Michael Ilitch, founder and owner of the international fast-food franchise Little Caesars Pizza and owner of the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings
Abramson won in the specialty category after being nominated by Pepsico, Ecolab and Anheuser-Busch InBev.
In its news release announcing the awards, IFMA noted: “Abramson has spent his entire 47-year career at the contract management giant (Delaware North), which specializes in sports, entertainment and recreation facilities. Under Abramson’s leadership, the company’s sports hospitality division experienced record growth, with annual revenues nearly tripling from 2004 to 2012, to exceed $760 million.” The release added that Abramson pushed Sportservice “to inject local flavor and culinary innovations into its sporting venue operations.”
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