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Crunchtime's First-Ever Ops Excellence Awards—Meet the Finalists and See Who Won!

We believe that teams who support operations are the backbone of any successful restaurant organization and deserve to be recognized for raising the bar in the industry—which is why we’re honoring excellence in restaurant operations. As part of our first-ever Ops Excellence Awards, we’re celebrating customers who have harnessed the power of our solutions to achieve unparalleled operational excellence. 

Participants were asked to submit their success story showcasing how their team(s) leverage any of Crunchtime’s solutions to level up their operations during the nomination period of June 22-August 4, 2023. Then, our judging committee, made up of a cross-functional group of Crunchtime teams, read through all the submissions and had the arduous task of choosing three finalists to share their stories. 

Some of the criteria that our judging committee had to consider included:

  • The submitter had to be a customer of at least one of Crunchtime’s solutions
  • The story that was submitted included success metrics/KPIs
  • The story included anything about the overall business impact 

We were truly blown away by the incredible nominations we received. Here's a sampling of some of the amazing results customers reported in the pursuit of ops excellence.Copy of Ops Excellence Awards - FINAL (1)


Again, our judges had a very difficult time deciding which of the nominations would advance through to the finalist round, and that’s largely due to the amazing caliber of the submissions we got. We did want to take a moment to recognize some as honorable mentions. Their stories are shining examples of operational excellence in the food service industry and should still be acknowledged. Copy of Ops Excellence Awards - FINAL

Let’s Meet Our 2023 Ops Excellence Awards Finalists and Winner

After much anticipation and careful deliberation, we announced three finalists. These companies have exemplified excellence in operations, and we couldn't be prouder to have them as part of this year’s awards. We welcomed representatives from all three finalists onto the stage at our 2023 Ops Summit to share their success stories, and during the session, attendees were able to cast their vote for the winner - live! 

Finalist # 1 P.F. Chang's

Renowned for its fusion cuisine and impeccable service, P.F. Chang's has demonstrated an unparalleled ability to manage complex operations while maintaining a consistently exceptional guest experience.

Partnering with Crunchtime and Zenput:

  • 50% decrease in inventory count and review time
  • 3rd party food safety audit scores improved
  • Using Zenput across multiple teams to enhance operations

Founded in 1993 by Philip Chiang and Paul Fleming, P.F. Chang’s is the first internationally recognized multi-unit Asian culinary brand to honor and celebrate the 2,000-year-old tradition of wok cooking as the center of the guest experience. Worldwide, P.F. Chang’s has more than 300 restaurants in 22 countries and U.S. airport locations, including a growing number of convenient P.F. Chang’s To Go locations offering takeout and delivery.

Finalist #2 Sweetgreen

A trailblazer in the health-conscious fast-casual dining scene, Sweetgreen's commitment to sustainability, fresh ingredients, and seamless operations has set an impressive standard for the industry.

Partnering with Crunchtime and Zenput:

  • Reduced time spent creating staff schedules in restaurant locations by 50%--from three hours per week to one and a half hours, on average.
  • Increased waste management reporting, providing better visibility into waste reduction opportunities and underscoring Sweetgreen’s dedication to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
  • High adoption of operational form submissions with restaurants submitting line checks and management forms twice daily, resulting in improved scores on internal food safety audits.

Founded by three college friends in D.C., Sweetgreen is a fast-casual restaurant company with over 220 locations across 19 states. Our mission is to build healthier communities by connecting people to real food. We source local and organic ingredients from farmers we know and partners we trust, supporting our communities and creating meaningful relationships with those around us.

Finalist #3 Tacala (Taco Bell) 

With an unwavering dedication to operational efficiency, Tacala has consistently delivered top-tier service in the quick-service restaurant realm, earning a well-deserved spot among our finalists with their Taco Bell stores.

Partnering with Zenput:

  • 5% decrease in task management time
  • 96% food safety project completion
  • Improved audit scores by 6%, resulting in 99.7% pass for 2023

Tacala’s Founders, Dick Reese and Don Ghareeb, opened their first Taco Bell in 1989 in Columbiana, Alabama. Since then, Tacala has grown to over 350 locations in the Southeast and Texas. Altamont Capital Partners' investment in 2012 has helped drive explosive unit growth over the past ten years. Even after 34 years and 350 Taco Bell restaurants, their focus has stayed the same: serve customers, serve teams, and serve communities with kindness. Dubbed the “Here To Serve” principle; it’s a credit to their success. (And of course, you may be wondering what Tacala means… Taco Alabama).

And the winner is…


Congratulations to Sweetgreen and to Tacala and P.F. Chang's! We look forward to continuing to celebrate their outstanding achievements and the spirit of operational excellence that drives our industry forward. Stay tuned for the 2024 Ops Excellence Awards for your opportunity to shine a spotlight on the incredible work that you and your teams are doing every day.


Click here to learn more about Crunchtime customers and how we help the best restaurant brands in the world achieve exceptional results.