The Hennessy Award is based on the entire scope of an installation’s food service program exhibiting excellence in management effectiveness, force readiness support, food quality, employee and customer relations, resource conservation, training and safety awareness.
The program has three essential purposes — promote excellence in customer service and meal quality by recognizing operations and management; inspire high morale, motivation, mission support, and a professional image through pride and spirited competition; and improve management concepts and practices.
The award’s namesake is in honor of John L. Hennessy, one of the nation’s most capable and respected advocate of food services. Amongst many lifetime accomplishments, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Hennessy as chairman of the War Food Committee in 1943 to develop food service systems capable of sustaining millions of military personnel involved in the war effort.
After a long and successful career of leading food and service boards along with the president, his lasting task was to further improve military food service operations. One recommendation was to encourage military services to adopt a program of food service competition to inspire better management and command support of food service. Hennessy did not live to see his recommendation placed in action but his memory lives on in the annual Air Force Hennessy competition—a testimonial to his contributions in the food service field.
The Little Rock Hercules Dining Facility will be competing against five other bases this year to earn honors as the best food service operation in the Air Force. In the last four years, the Hercules DFAC has won finalist honors three times and, in 2017, was selected as number one DFAC in the Air Force.
This past year, Little Rock Air Force Base’s food service operation served approximately 210,000 patrons, amassed over $2.2 million in sales and partnered with the U.S. Army to rescue a sustenance shortfall at Camp Robinson resulting in 25,000 critical meals being available to serve for our Army counterparts.
Being ready to project their craft worldwide, the team sent 62 services Airmen in support of the 19th Airlift Wing’s full-spectrum readiness exercise, ROCKI 20-01, and deployed 18 members to five hostile locations in support of combatant commanders abroad.
Finally, the Hercules DFAC has a legacy of performance garnering AMC’s 2018 Sustainment Services Flight of the Year, boasting two top performers in the Arkansas Hospitality Association Top Chef competition, and most recently the DFAC was honored as a nominee for the 2020 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame by the State of Arkansas Department of Heritage.
Beyond the base, the operation has forged partnerships with Pulaski Technical College’s Culinary Program and Two Sisters Café providing internship and training opportunities for services Airmen to upgrade their culinary weapon system and bolster the installation’s ties to the community.
The 19th Force Support Squadron, along with 19th AW leadership, will host a social at the Hercules Dining Facility Feb. 6, 2020, to welcome the judges and give them their first glimpse of the unit’s capabilities.