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Rules & Judging Guidelines

Judging Guidelines

Judging guidelines and instructions for submission of entries:

  1. Each entry will be judged in the defined category using the criteria listed. NACUFS reserves the right to recategorize entries if deemed appropriate.

  2. The entries will be sorted by category and classification. Each category will be assigned to a team of three judges. The teams will then review each entry in their assigned categories and the judges’ scores will be averaged for a final score. The chair will then make the appropriate point deductions as indicated in Contest Penalties.

  3. The top scoring entries in each category and classification will be awarded Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards if they receive a minimum score as follows: 90% for Gold, 80% for Silver, 70% for Bronze. Assuming there are sufficient entries, these three awards will be awarded in each of the Small, Medium, and Large classifications in each category. In the case of a tie, entries receiving the same score will receive the same level award.

  4. Grand Prize judging process: The top scoring entry from each of the Small, Medium, and Large classifications will be ranked against each other. All six judges will rank the contenders for Grand Prize. In the case of a tie, the chair will rank the contenders to break the tie so there will be only one Grand Prize winner per category.

  5. If a voting delegate feels their institution is improperly classified, he/she may write an appeal, not to exceed 200 words, stating the classification they think their institution should be assigned and the reasons why. To be considered, appeals must be included with the entry. The appeal will be reviewed by the dining awards chair prior to the judging. The decision of the dining awards chair is final.

Contest Rules

(Rules with * do NOT apply to Catering-Online Menu. See Catering-Online Menu entry form for its own contest rules.)

  1. The contest is open to all NACUFS institutional members in good standing. Entries must be designed and produced by the institution entering the contest. Entries cannot be of company-wide promotions/menus/concepts that are for use at multiple locations or institutions as a company program, or submitted previously.

  2. All entries must be received by the deadline set by the dining awards committee and printed on the Official Entry Form. Entries not received by the deadline will have one point deducted for each day late up to five days, and thereafter be disqualified and will not be judged.

  3. *All Gold, Silver and Bronze winners will be on display at the national conference and must remain on display until the designated pick-up time, at which point they must be picked up by a representative of the institution.

  4. * Page 1 of all entries must be a completed and signed Official Entry Form. An entry which does not include a completed and signed Official Entry Form as Page 1 will be disqualified and will not be judged. Label as page 1.

  5. * Page 2 of all entries must be an Essay that contains a maximum of 200 words. Label as page 2.

  6. * Page 3 of all entries must be a typed Table of Contents and must follow the Judging Criteria in order, and include page numbers. Label as page 3.

  7. * Page 4 is the start of the Judging Criteria section. The Introductions must be typed, contain a maximum of 100 words each, be placed at the beginning of each criterion, and be in order as laid out in the specific category’s judging criteria. Additionally, brief descriptions and captions are allowed within each criterion. Hyphenated words will count as one word.

  8. * All pages of the entry must be numbered.

  9. *The photograph limit will count any combination of grouped photos as individual photos (e.g., collages, etc. would be counted as more than one photograph). Any social media post or marketing piece containing photos will be counted as a photograph. ALL PHOTOS AND MARKETING MATERIALS SHOULD BE CONTAINED IN THE CATEGORY SECTIONS.

  10. *All entries must be bound in a single book format and the exterior measurements may not exceed 18” x 12”, nor weigh more than 10 pounds. Only one entry is permitted per book and the entire entry must be securely contained within that single book. Audio, video, loose, or unattached materials will NOT be accepted or considered for judging.

  11. *Each separate food service unit at a member institution may enter any category for which it is eligible. A separate entry form must accompany each entry (duplicate the Official Entry Form as needed).

  12. Organize the pages of the entry in the same order as the criteria.

  13. If an entry uses materials that could be subject to copyright and/or trademark protections, the entrant institution should consult with the entrant’s legal counsel or appropriate institutional office as to whether written permission from each copyright and/or trademark owner is required. If written permission is required for the purposes reflected in the entry, a copy of each such written permission shall be submitted with the entry and such written permission shall also provide for further publication and use by NACUFS.

  14. *Each separate foodservice unit at a member institution may enter any category for which it is eligible. A separate entry form must accompany each entry (duplicate the Official Entry Form as needed).

  15. The dining awards chair and NACUFS staff will review all entries upon receipt for rule adherence, qualification, and classification, and reserve the right to recategorized entries if deemed appropriate.

  16. The decision of the judges is final.

  17. By entering the contest, permission is thereby given to the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) to publish and/or use in any way the material so submitted.

  18. Events must have occurred between April 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020 to be considered. Entries for events outside this time period will be disqualified.

 Contest Penalties

The following penalities do not apply to CateringOnline Menu. See CateringOnline Menu Official Entry Form for its own rules. Failure to follow the rules as defined will result in disqualification or penality points being assessed against the total score as follows:

1. Official Entry Form
     a. Failure to place a completed and signed Official Entry Form as
Page 1 - Disqualified
         It is okay to have the page prior to the entry form blank but no text or photos.

2. Essay
     a. Essay missing - Disqualified
     b. Essay not placed as Page 2 - 1 point
     c. Essay not typed - 1 point
     d. Essay over 200 words - 1 point

3. Table of Contents
     a. Table of Contents missing - Disqualified
     b. Table of Contents not placed as Page 3 - 1 point
     c. Table of Contents not typed - 1 point

4. Judging Criteria
     a. Failure to include Introduction at beginning of each Judging Criterion - 1 point per criterion
     b. Introduction not typed - 1 point per criterion
     c. Introduction over 100 words - 1 point per criterion
     d. Judging criteria not in correct order - 2 points
     e. More than 12 photographs per Judging Criterion - 1 point per photo

5. All pages must be numbered - 2 points

6. Oversized book and/or being in non-book form (not to exceed 18” x 12”) - 2 points

7. Excessive weight (not to exceed 10 pounds) - 2 points

8. Failure to provide copy of written permission to use copyrighted material or trademark when requested by NACUFS or the dining awards task force - Disqualified

9. Resubmitting a previous entry or submittal of a company-wide program - Disqualified

10. Late entry (one point per day, up to five days) - 1-5 points/Disqualified

11. Event outside timeframe (April 1, 2019-March 30, 2020) - Disqualified

Categories and Size Classification

Because there are many facets to collegiate dining (and institutions vary in size and budget), the Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards Contest offers six major categories, each with awards for small, medium, and large institutions.

The categories for the contest include:

  1. Residential Dining Concepts
  2. Residential Dining Facility
  3. Residential Dining - Special Event
  4. Retail Sales - Single Concept/Multiple Concepts/Marketplace
  5. Catering - Special Event
  6. Catering - Online Menu (Electronic Entries Only)

Entries are divided into three classifications—Small, Medium, and Large—based on the institution’s total annual foodservice revenue and total student enrollment. To determine your classification, refer to the Dining Awards Classification Matrix.

Classification Matrix