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The headline to our piece on the Field Museum in Chicago might have been, "The Best Things in the Field Museum are no Longer Confined to the Basement." 

No, we're not talking about the shrunken head exhibit, which was deemed culturally insensitive and relegated to storage years ago, or the stuffed man-eating lion from Africa that ate more railroad workers than a great white shark has teeth before being permanently excused from its dining area. The article is about a very different dining experience at The Field Museum — the kind that patrons can now enjoy at the museum's recently renovated on-site venues, The Field Bistro and the Explorer's Café.

The story highlights a trend in non-commercial foodservice toward sustainability, perceived freshness and locally sourced dining options. A story about the developments in business and industry foodservice by Dana Tanyeri also picks up on this thread. Here, Dana explores the emergence of workplace foodservice offerings as a differentiating factor in employee attraction and retention strategies.

In the non-commercial world of colleges, healthcare and corporate settings, foodservice was sometimes viewed as a necessary commodity but that's changing from the top down. Leaders in all of these spaces now realize that there's more to meal time than simply breaking bread. Allowing people from all parts of a given institution to come together during mealtime to interact with one another helps create a sense of community. Doing so in a healthful and innovative manner reinforces the mission and purpose of that community.

Thoughtful foodservice planning provides the opportunity for shared cultural experiences that helps bring people together, allowing them to create stronger bonds that help define a brand. More than showcasing their ability to roll with the changes, these developments demonstrate that non-commercial operators now fully embrace the value proposition that the fast-casual concepts continue to lean on as their recipe for success: informal environments plus fast service plus the perception of higher-quality food equals value in the eyes of today's foodservice customers. Today's consumer has no shortage of quality food options. As such, foodservice success across all segments is as much or more about providing hospitality these days. Indeed, quality food is the expectation, but it's hospitality that sets these elite operators apart.

And one key element in providing quality food is maintaining a food-safe environment. With that in mind, I would like to invite you to register for FE&S' webcast: 20 Food Safety Tips. To help celebrate the 20th anniversary of National Food Safety Month, our panelists will share their experience-based knowledge to help you design, operate and maintain food-safe environments. This year's webcast takes place at 1 p.m. (CST) on September 30. I hope you can join us!

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