Connected & Ready

Forecasting in uncertain times, with Ariane Daguin

Episode Summary

The food supply and restaurant industries have been on a particularly difficult journey in 2020 and look to be facing a tough winter ahead. To shed more light on this, we welcome back Ariane Daguin, CEO of high-end food company D’Artagnan to talk about what she has learned since coming on the show in June and her expectations for the holidays and year ahead. Ariane talks about which aspects of her business have stabilized and which haven’t in the past six months. They also discuss steps D’Artagnan has taken to maintain its company culture and support struggling customers, how to make forecasts when you’re in uncharted waters, Ariane’s favorite holiday foods and traditions, and reasons to think positively as we look forward to 2021. For help making your supply chain more agile, connected, and resilient, request a live demo of Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management today: https://aka.ms/AA8l720

Episode Notes

Host Gemma Milne is joined by Ariane Daguin, CEO of D’Artagnan, a pioneer purveyor of free-range, natural, sustainable foods, to talk about how the 2020 holiday season has differed from previous years, how her business has shifted from crisis mode to responding to longer-term industry changes, the role of educating customers as part of marketing, and her outlook for 2021. 

About Ariane Daguin  

As the founder, owner, and CEO of D’Artagnan, Ariane has built a reputation over the last 35 years for providing humanely raised meats to top chefs and restaurants. A devoted advocate, she has been at forefront of the organic food movement and through her co-ops of small-scale farmers helps support natural, sustainable production practices. When many of her customers had to temporarily close, she added new customers by opening up her products direct to consumers. 

Learn more about D’Artagnan:

https://www.dartagnan.com

 

Topics of discussion

 

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Episode Transcription

Music playing [00:00:01]

Gemma [00:00:05] Hello and welcome. You're listening to Connected and Ready, an ongoing conversation about innovation, resilience, and our capacity to succeed. Brought to you by Microsoft. I'm Gemma Milne. I'm a technology journalist and author. And I'm going to be exploring trends around how companies are adapting to a disrupted world and preparing for tomorrow. We're going to speak to the innovators who are bringing products, operations, and people together in new ways. 

[00:00:30] Before we begin today's episode, a brief note that we're going to be on break for two weeks over the holidays, but we'll return with new episodes starting on January the 6th. We hope you all have a wonderful festive period, whatever that means for you. Now, on today's episode, I was thrilled to be joined once more by Ariane Daguin, founder and CEO of D'Artagnan, who we originally spoke to earlier this year about her shifting her business from mostly B2B to B2C almost overnight as a result of the pandemic. Now, we've brought her back six months later to chat about, well, what's happened since forecasting and uncertain times has been like, how her attitude of "all for one and one for all," has contributed to their business survival and success, and of course, it wouldn't be a festive episode without hearing all about Ariane's favorite recipes for the holidays and her outlook for 2021. 

[00:01:23] Ariane, thank you so much for coming back and joining us on the show. You're a regular now, I guess, with this second appearance. 

Ariane [00:01:31] Thank you for having me. It was really fun the first time. 

Gemma [00:01:35] Well, for anyone who hasn't listened to the previous interview with you, I wonder if we could just start with a little bit of an introduction so that everybody is up to speed. 

Ariane [00:01:44] So my name is Ariane Daguin. I'm the owner and CEO of a company called D'Artagnan. And here in the United States, we specialize in good meat, good poultry, good game, and mushrooms. And by good, I mean the best quality possible on the plate, which means, evidently, that the animals have to be raised the right way in order to get the best product possible. 

[00:02:12] And that means no antibiotics, no medication, no hormones, plenty of space to roam around, in pasture, not on barren soil, and as little stress as possible, if no stress at all up to the end, to the processing. That's what we've been doing for 35 years. 

Gemma [00:02:31] As I said, we spoke earlier on. You were one of our early guests on Connected & Ready, and we spoke around, about near the start, or at least what felt like the start of the pandemic. And at that time, you had just pivoted your business from mostly B2B sales to then mostly being B2C, seemingly overnight. Let's talk a little bit about that. Has that shift stuck or have things shifted again since we last spoke? 

Ariane [00:02:58] No, it's continuing on the same trend for a couple of reasons. First, because the restaurants are not back. There has been kind of a false start and then some restaurants are open, but only twenty-five percent inside. Some opened outside. But now with the weather, nobody wants to do this. And then the second wave of COVID is happening, too. So there is a strong, depending on the state, of closing restaurants entirely. So the future is pretty gloomy for restaurants for the next three months, for the winter, basically. And on the other side, we had in November, we had Thanksgiving, which is a huge consumer affair, and we had to deal with that and how to keep twenty-one thousand turkeys in the warehouse. We have a big warehouse, but still twenty-one thousand turkeys is a lot of turkeys. And turkeys take a lot of space. And so to shift from big orders going to restaurants to smaller orders, going to the consumers means much more labor, much more work to make things happen. So it was very challenging to be able to do this. And the end of year holidays are announcing to be the same thing, if not worse — good in some ways, you know, I welcome the volume, but very straining. And we need it because we're going to need that cash flow in January, February, March, when consumers are not going to consume so much anymore and restaurants are not going to be back. So it is very challenging. Those times are very challenging. The great thing is that cash flow-wise, we're in a good position. We feel we can weather the storm until the spring and that's a good thing. And we see vaccines coming and eventually this thing disappearing. But the restaurant industry is going to have to reinvent itself. There's going to be a lot of casualties there, a lot. You know, we say pivot a lot, pivoting point. Well, we are at the pivoting point, once again, but right now we have the nose in the steering wheel and trying to get to all those Christmas and end of year packages for consumers. 

Gemma [00:05:29] For people who are not as familiar with the growing Turkey industry and how all this works, can you give a little bit of context as to what that shift really meant to growing and, you know, having all of those turkeys in the warehouse? What do you normally do versus what you had to do this time? And what was the sort of shift again for the end of year celebrations? Just talk us through that. 

Ariane [00:05:56] Well, it is a challenge every year, because a Turkey is a big thing, you know. So it takes a lot of room. The challenges start also with timing and forecasting. You need to understand in April what's going to happen, how many you're going to need and at what size for that one day, which is a Monday before Thanksgiving, when you're shipping to all the consumers. Granted, you ship also to the retailers the week before, because they want to be ready for that weekend, but it's nothing next to that volume on the consumers. And as I said last time, I don't know if you remember, we were speculating on the size of the turkeys and how they were going to be smaller this year. They were considerably smaller this year because parties were smaller. The family didn't reunite in the same way than usual. You know, people who usually have 30 people around the table had only 12 of them, sometimes six, sometimes even only two. So that changed a lot of things. It showed that we were right, that people actually did buy more turkeys, but smaller sizes. I think we were able to basically do almost the same dollar numbers as last year with restaurants and retail, with our regular mix. So that's a good thing. But with a lot more effort, you know. Pedaling much more to stay in the same place. It's OK. It's fine. We are in tough times. We are doing it. But it's straining. It's going to be the same thing for December now. And so we're gearing up, and our philosophy, our mantra here at D'Artagnan, that "all for one, one for all," that played a lot for us. The salespeople, the people from marketing, the people from purchasing, the people in accounting administration — they all came in the refrigerator and chipped in and, keeping our distance and the mask and everything. But everybody was picking, packing, helping with the labeling, with everything. I mean, it was a beauty to see, you know, how this "all for one, one for all" helped on this. And I hope it's going to be the same for this December. I hope we're going to maximize so that we can just do the wait and see at the beginning of the year where the end of the tunnel is a little farther than what the media are saying and what people... I mean, we want everybody to be optimistic, of course, and say, "hey, the vaccines are coming, we are done." But it's going to take longer, especially in our industry. 

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Gemma [00:09:16] So, Ariane, you mentioned the mantra that you have at D'Artagnan: "all for one, one for all." And you've mentioned that it sounds like everyone in the company has really come together and pulled through and worked really hard, all the different departments, to kind of make things keep going and serving people in the best way possible. But how have you managed to keep everybody engaged, especially when you've, I guess, been asking for more effort from everybody? What's that looked like, sort of, in practice? 

Ariane [00:09:44] I'm not sure you can do that overnight if you haven't had that in your culture to begin with. And because we've had that in the culture to begin with, it seems accepted as a way to do things in this company. It's OK to be versatile. It's OK, and the compensation shows that it's OK to actually support and help a colleague at work. That's in normal times. In normal time, since people are, of course, they are competitive with each other, but they also know that they have a bigger goal to obtain. And so your bonus is not based just on your results, but on the overall results of the company. If we cannot achieve the overall results, you don't get your full bonus for your own results anyway. So everybody has a stake in the success of everybody else, in the newbie who doesn't know what he's doing, in the weak guy that you need to pull up. So starting with that makes it a little easier, to begin with. And then I think what's very, very important is the transparency. 

[00:10:53] And I've been blessed with a team that is really extraordinary. From Andy Wertheim, our president, John O'Brien who's in IT, the marketing led by Morgan and Josh... I mean, everybody, Joelle, our operation director. Everybody has that spirit, understands it and is very, very efficient and capable. But to be transparent at all the levels and to go down at all the levels and explain what's at stake, explain where we are, the difficulties that we're encountering, not just giving lip service. We haven't laid off people since the beginning of COVID. We haven't laid off people for economic reasons. We have not. And so people see that, and they understand that. And they understand that it's not just lip service, "all for one, one for all" but everything for me. No. It's for the whole family of employees. So when you get in and say, "hey, we have too many orders for the number of packers, we are maximized," we're in the shits. And a lot of employees understanding what's at stake, what numbers we need to achieve to make it whole, to at least follow on the cash flow, to at least balance the balance sheet and stay whole, then it helps. You know, there is a goal somewhere. There is... We see where we want to go and that helps a lot. I think it's a mixture of all those things that make it work.

[00:12:32] And I think if there is one last thing is that a lot of our team members come from the restaurant industry, kitchens in particular. And in kitchens you have this feeling of extreme stress once a day or twice, depending on the shift you are. 

[00:12:54] But at seven thirty at night, all of a sudden you have plenty of clients in the dining room and you have to come out with a number of dishes without compromising the quality that is at the limit of the human possibilities. And then three hours later, boom, it goes back down to, there is nothing anymore. And I think this culture of restaurant world has helped also, because then all our musketeers here have that same sensitivity of, "hey, when it's crunch time, everybody has to share and to be part of it," because it's like in a rugby game. You are as good as the weakest member on the field. And if that person doesn't carry itself, you cannot do it. And so that team spirit is what rugby's all about. It's not at all important who is the guy who actually put the ball in the center of the [unintelligible]. What's important is that all the guys helped to be able to do that at the end. So same thing here. The Musketeers, rugby is the same thing. 

Gemma [00:14:12] I want to hear from you a little bit about this idea of reacting to the pandemic and sort of firefighting and making change just to survive versus changes in business that have happened as a result of the pandemic, that in some way is a good thing, perhaps taking on new innovative processes or perhaps more flexible arrangements for different people. Yes, of course, everybody is finding things really difficult right now. However, there's also been an acceleration of perhaps things that have been needing to happen for a long time in certain industries, particularly when it comes to technology. And I wonder, does it feel like that for D'Artagnan? Are you feeling like some of the shifts that have happened as a result of the past couple of months are here to stay and actually or maybe positive? I don't know if that's a mindset thing, or an adoption of a particular process or technology. Or does it still just feel like firefighting and you kind of just want to get back to the way it was before? 

Ariane [00:15:12] There is an element of firefighting. There is no preventing it when you have that huge surge of volume and all of a sudden then, you know, it's going to end the day after. But we do our best and really at every level, we look at going through the COVID and looking through the COVID to tomorrow. Because that's what's important is to be able to be whole and strong when we get out of this. And so we try to keep that in mind constantly. But it is true that this crisis is helping us accelerate stuff and innovate in the packaging, in the way we put the blue ice. Can we do dry ice instead the blue ice? If we do dry ice, what does that mean in the logistics? What does that mean as far as, can we make our own? Are we going to blow up the place if we make own? This is not what we do for a living usually, but we are asking all those questions. Can we have more products that are more consumer friendly faster without any compromise with the same core products that we have, but getting them in small shops or in smaller portions? Because this is what the consumers are desiring most, trying to develop a way to forecast geographically where the orders are going to come from so that we can disperse as much as possible the labor needs and have it in the other warehouse as well; which is a huge challenge in itself, given the perishability of all our products. You know, if we are selling shoes or ties, it wouldn't be a problem sending too much to a distribution center. Here, it's a different thing. We are dealing with poultry that has a 10-day shelf life altogether. So, everything is a challenge, but everything is an opportunity to innovate and to technologically become more advanced. 

Gemma [00:17:18] With that forecasting point, because this is, I think, something that's... You're right, obviously, with a business like yours that's in the sort of perishable goods space, forecasting is crucial. But forecasting is something that's important to businesses of all shapes and sizes. And it's certainly been a topic that's come up repeatedly when we've been having these conversations over the past year. How are people shifting from what we were talking before? Use your historical data and make sure you've got all these algorithms and all sorts, to suddenly be like, OK, but we don't have historical data that's relevant. What is now the innovative way of doing forecasting? So what is it that you guys are doing in that space? Are you using real time, short-term trends? Are you just trying to follow your nose and your expertise of thirty-five years? How are you thinking about forecasting when there is so much more unknown? 

Ariane [00:18:09] So there was a lot of unknowns for Thanksgiving: size of the turkey, number of the turkeys in the very brand new market for us. For the end of year holidays, it may be a little easier and I'm crossing my fingers because it is the same old, same old as far as forecasting where basically we look at last year, same time last year, five days from now and five days after now. And we extrapolated with the growth curve that we're seeing there. And because the holidays are for a variety of food, it's a little easier to disperse it on the group of items rather than having it totally focused on the turkey, alone, and nothing else. I mean, they exaggerate, but it's pretty much that. So, because of that, the forecasting is not so much our nightmare here. Here, we know that we have a curve. We're going to follow that curve of the growth. We think we know our breaking point so that if you get there, then we're going to stop taking orders. Which is much easier to do than with the restaurants. With the restaurants that are loyal clients, you're in, you're out. You cannot call and say, "nope, that's not an option." If you want to be on the menu two weeks from now, you better do a good service now. And the same thing with the consumers as far as the loyalty. You know, they want good service and they want a good product. But that growth is also fueled by new clients. And so we were at the limit with Thanksgiving and we were limited by the number of turkeys that were available, anyway. And technology's helping us a lot on that, too. You know, we are not selling on the website. We are not selling things that we don't have. So when people go to something that we made a mistake on, there will be a sign "out of stock," and we will try to get them towards the same thing, but smaller or bigger or something a little similar but different. You know, stuff like that. So because of that, it's a little more forgiving than Thanksgiving. 

Gemma [00:20:31] So you mentioned the restaurants and sort of the loyal customers that are the restaurants and I guess the lifeblood of your industry at the end of the day. And you also were speaking about at the start of our conversation, how some of these restaurants are having to have really tough conversations about shutting indefinitely and not being able to survive. What have you been doing to try and, I don't know, stay connected, still be a part, still serve those customers and perhaps find ways of helping them to get through what's also been super hard for them as well? 

Ariane [00:21:05] There are a lot of ways. First of all, we started a petition. Then we accompanied other people's petitions. We're supporting them in all the associations. They are friends. We talk on a regular basis and compare our misery and try to commiserate between each other. But also a lot of them are fighting hard, are saying, "OK, let's do take-out only. Let's go and do mail order on the particular dish that we are known for." Or "Let's open the twenty-five percent, but simplify the menu." So we are acting a little bit as consultant to our friends, too, saying, "Well be careful, because of the price point. You should go here instead of there, et cetera." But they are so inventive. I mean I had a conversation yesterday with a big chef who not only has dishes like that on the mail order basis, but is doing takeout and delivery. But now he's looking at the food truck as an option and I'm talking a four-star chef. So people are really fighting to get their employees whole and to keep having a presence and the brand and not having their work of a lifetime destroyed. So we have constant conversations. And also a lot of chefs who are not owners and who are looking for a job. And there are a lot of openings that are projected for the spring, and so I think people try to delay their openings as much as possible. There are openings right now just because they couldn't wait anymore. They had investors, they started paying rent, et cetera, negotiating. But still, the traditionally big opening months, which is September, October, have switched to next spring. And so we're trying to pair people who are opening restaurants with chefs who are now looking for a job. 

[00:22:46] Obviously, it's interesting to see how all of a sudden, a job opening in the countryside is becoming more palatable and viable, you know, and that people are looking for that. 

[00:22:59] Whereas before, you know, you wouldn't take somebody out of Manhattan or Chicago proper or Atlanta center. You know, things are changing. 

Gemma [00:23:44] I think something that for people who listen to our previous chat will remember, what really comes through speaking to you, Ariane, is that you are so passionate not just about food, but also about restaurants and the ability for them to bring people together, which we're going to talk about a little bit in a minute. But before we do that, I want to talk about another thing that you were really passionate about when we spoke last time, which was around consumers understanding the difference between a happy chicken and a not so happy chicken. And how there was perhaps an opportunity for you guys to, through recipes, through selling direct, through creating different kind of community and what not, directly with consumers, perhaps that education or whatever could have been part of what you guys have done. Do you feel you've been able to do that? Do you feel there's been some kind of shift with more people cooking, more people being thoughtful about food over the last sort of nine months? 

Ariane [00:24:33] Yeah, the education and the process of education has been the same. We have certain means with marketing money and we try to put it to as best use as possible. Social media, in particular. We don't have that 30 million dollars to go on TV to embrace the crowds. So now it's even more important than ever to make sure that the marketing money is spent for education. But the biggest thing, the main thing, is what we saw earlier and what has been confirmed is that people are cooking more. They are more at home. They are cooking more. They don't have the restaurant occasions so much anymore. And so because of that, just because of the cooking part. You know, when you cook, you realize very easily, in front of you, the quality of the ingredients. And that helps a lot. That's the element that makes people listen more to the education that we're trying to provide because they actually are cooking. They are not relying so much anymore on the reputation that the chefs are giving us. They are doing it on their own because when you cook a chicken and you have that mushy, factory-farmed chicken and you have a nice, firm, tasty and complex tasting free range chicken, then you understand. You know, all of a sudden it's easier to understand that with wholesome food and a lot of pasture and the free ranging and no stress at the processing, you're going to have a much better result on the plate. And so that's easier. To give more complexity to the answer, when you have that premise already established, then you can nuance it and explain what's the difference between an organic and the green circle, a chicken that would eat vegetables versus a chicken that eats only grain or just certified organic grain, but still that kind of a thing. So it's reassuring. I think it's here to stay, seriously, and I would like to encourage this as much as possible. I really would like people to sit down, have a family meal as much as possible the whole month of December. And understanding the importance of sitting down together as a family unit of talking about your day together while you are enjoying your meal, that maybe you help cook together, or at least the young set the table and the less young help peel the potato, or whatever. You know, so that there is an interaction, a family interaction instead of everybody eating the fast food in front of the screen in different rooms in the home. 

Gemma [00:27:25] I think one thing we've certainly noticed here in my household, and it is just me and my boyfriend and has been since obviously February, March, is that meals have become the exciting part of the day because you're just going from room to room to room. Maybe you go out and walk, maybe go around or whatever. But you're not going out in the evening or seeing people or whatever. So the meals have become this kind of I don't know, it's not just about breaking up the days, but it's a thing to kind of look forward to and plan. I think obviously not everybody's got different tensions and whatnot in their own lives and locked in. It's had different effects on all different kinds of families. But that's certainly something I've been noticing talking to people. It's like, well, we now actually have the time to dedicate to doing food well and make it enjoyable as opposed to rushing in from work, making something and maybe rushing back out. And so you're right. It's, why wouldn't you then do it well and make something of it? Obviously, we're recording this in December, so it'll go out just before Christmas, I think the week before Christmas we're going to be putting this episode out. So let's talk a little bit about some fun stuff, seeing as it's a jovial time of year. What sort of foods or dishes or traditions around foods to you like to do around this time of year? 

Ariane [00:28:39] And just before we go there to add a little bit, yeah, there is also cooking fatiguing, no doubt. Do you hear people saying how they make the best bread in the world? Not so much anymore. You know, and I think people are still making bread, but not for the same reason that you heard at the beginning. And there is take out, there are such things as take out. So we cannot generalize totally. But certainly the importance of sitting down at the table, that does totally, absolutely increase. So for Christmas, there are a lot of different cultural ways of spending the holidays. It's going to be so different because usually it is an occasion to be at home with your family. Except since March, we've all been at home with our families, up to here with the family. (Laughs) So it doesn't have that air of, "yeah, let's get together" anymore because we are already together. But I think if there is one thing that reunites people even more than presents itself, it's food. I mean, food is love, love is food, and there is nothing [else]. Basically, in life, there are two things: love and food. That's it. That's life in two words. So I think it's a good occasion to try new things, to go after experimental stuff, because, again, there is nothing new about having your family you need at home. That's what they've been doing since March. So let's try to have something a little bit different from all those days that came since March. And there are a lot of ways to do that. There are some tips. It depends your taste, of course, but in my family, we love truffle. We absolutely love truffle and the aroma of truffle. You don't necessarily have the money to have a truffle on the table every day. I mean, this is expensive stuff. But this earthy aroma of the black truffle is unbelievable. You know, the woods, the nutty, and the powerful aroma of it. And so we, at D’Artagnan, did a bunch of things to try to reproduce that in an affordable manner. So, of course, if you want to be my guest, we do have the fresh white truffle and black truffle. It's there. But when you want to be able to have an everyday dish or just to put the “hoof” in a dish, and you don't have a truffle or you don't want to splurge on the truffle, there is something called truffle butter that has plenty of truffle. You need a lot of truffle juice and a little bit of truffle oil. And this combination makes it really aromatic, even at cooking temperature. And so right now I've been cooking all my mushrooms, which I usually cook in duck fat, I've been cooking them in truffle butter right now. I also love my poultry with the skin because I like – skin the crispiness of the skin. So what I do is, I unstick the skin from the meat and then put truffle butter underneath. And so that... 

Gemma [00:31:56] Oh my god. 

Ariane [00:31:57] Yeah, no, but it's not difficult. It's fun. 

[00:32:01] Kids love to do it because there is this consistency there where you have to unstick the skin without making a hole in it. 

[00:32:08] And when you put the truffle butter, you know, slices of truffle butter, thin slices like that, then the butter goes down and permeates the breast and the little pieces of truffle stay there between the flesh and the skin. And the whole thing smells unbelievable. 

Gemma [00:32:26] I mean, I'm laughing because the sound is incredible, not because it sounds silly. I mean, gosh, we've got rubbish stuff for dinner tonight. I'm going to have to change things up. (Laughs) We were having a break from fancy, you know?

Ariane [00:32:39] Put a little truffle butter under that. It's key and it's going to be good. I promise you it's going to be good. 

Gemma [00:32:44] I trust you. I trust you. 

Ariane [00:32:47] So, based on that and on my natural propensity of liking things like that, we created a product called the truffle turkey breast. And so that's the ultimate fast food. You know, all you have to do is open the package, slice it, and it's done. It's fully cooked. And the other day I just took my truffle turkey breast and I cubed it and I made a turkey pot pie with it. So it's super easy. You take your leftover vegetables from the day before that are already cooked, cut them in cubes, take your truffle turkey breast, cut it in cubes, make a bechamel, you know, white gravy. 

[00:33:34] And there is nothing easier than that. 

[00:33:38] All it is, is same amount of butter and flour in a in a pot, mix it well, and when it starts to color a little bit, which the people in Louisiana call a roux, then you add milk and add at least three times the amount of milk that you had of the butter and the flour mixture. And then you keep whipping it in the pan at a low flame in your sauce pan until it becomes a very thick and nice white gravy. So at that point, you season it, salt and pepper, a little bit of nutmeg, if you like nutmeg, and don't put Tabasco or any too spicy stuff. But otherwise anything else works, you know, turmeric, a little cumin, a little Provençal herbs. Don't do too many mixes. Add the vegetables and the cubes of truffle turkey and then, you know, in a casserole, you know, in the bowl, basically put your mixture in there and cover it with a pastry puff. Flatten it enough that it's thin and put it on top of all your bowls so that it's just bigger than the diameter of the bowl so that you can stick it on the corner. And throw that in the oven and wait at 350, 375. Remember everything inside is already cooked. So all you want is to nicely color the pastry puff, which is going to take exactly 20 minutes. It's the easiest thing in the world. And when people take the soup spoon and the tablespoon and crush it down, you know, and the smell of the truffle comes up, it's unbelievable. And that truffle, I promise you that truffle turkey with the white gravy, bechamel in French, it's unbelievable, unbelievable. Try it. 

Gemma [00:35:36] I'm going to ask you one last question, Ariane, before we go. We've talked about the current period, December, the joyfulness. How are you feeling about 2021? What do you think is going to happen next year? What do you hope will happen next year? Maybe we'll try and end on a positive note. 

Ariane [00:35:51] Well, here in the United States, we have a new power at the government, and that in itself is a reason to rejoice and to be optimistic. We see the vaccines coming and that's another reason to be optimistic. So I think we're going to have a very tough first three months. But because we do see the light at the end of the tunnel, things are going to lighten up and be fine. And I'm an eternal optimist, so I really believe this. But we're not in the restaurant industry. We are not going to be back to where we were for probably a couple of years. And we're probably going to reinvent the industry along the way. I mean, things are going to happen. That I can see already, you know, little glimpses of that. But that industry will always exist. Restaurant industry is here to stay. People have to celebrate outside of the home once in a while. And this is what we're really missing right now. So I don't think it's going to disappear, but is going to change is going to be an evolution of how the restaurants function and the relationship between food cost and actual price on the menu and labor force and how we compensate the labor force and how we treat the labor force. 

[00:37:21] Because this crisis shows us how, you know, human beings are the most valuable assets that we have. 

[00:37:32] And so we are back to that little crazy, dreamy thing of the love. But it's a little bit that, you know. It's love in the family and translated into respect of each other in the workforce. And so that's going to change things. 

Gemma [00:37:48] Ending on love. I don't think there's a better way to finish a podcast, especially right before Christmas. Ariane, thank you so much for joining us for the second time. We so appreciate you coming back on the show. I hope you enjoy the holidays and hopefully we'll speak again. 

Ariane [00:38:00] Thank you. Thank you very much. And have a very good holiday, too. 

Gemma [00:38:06] So that's it for this week. 

[00:38:07] Thank you so much for tuning in. Just a reminder, we're going to be a break over the holidays for two weeks and we'll be back with new episodes on January 6th. 

[00:38:16] You can find out more about Ariane's work and indeed some of the broader themes we discussed today in the show notes. And if you enjoyed the episodes, please do take a few moments to rate and review the podcast. It really helps other people discover the show. 

[00:38:28] And don't forget to subscribe and tune in next time in January to continue our conversation about innovation, resilience, and our capacity to succeed. Have a great festive period. 

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