The Apprentice Week Three: A Saucy Bunch

the apprentice

Team Sterling decided to create a pineapple chutney after appointing Duane as PM and team Phoenix agreed that a mass market table sauce would be the best bet with Katie at the helm. With each team splitting in two, one half leading the manufacturing and the other off to decide the branding, the fun began.

The biggest challenge at this point was to have samples ready almost immediately as Lord Sugar had arranged for each team to pitch to a high end Deli. Armed with their mass-market appeal table sauce Belissimo (note the spelling mistake) Phoenix completed a pretty good pitch and continued with the task at hand. Team Phoenix however found themselves arriving at their pitch with no samples for the buyers to taste. Why bother? Personally I would have either refused to go or I would have contacted the retailer to try and rearrange the meeting. Who in their right mind arrives at a pitch/tasting session with nothing to taste?? They thought describing the flavours would be adequate enough but let’s be honest; even if it tasted like death they would have sworn blind that it had the flavour of the heavens. It was nothing short of a complete shambles.

Team Phoenix, who up until this point seemed to be the winning team by a mile, struggled with their manufacturing. The sub team headed up by Ricky Martin (not to be confused with the writhing hip variety) made a complete hash of the main batch of sauce which resulted in the majority being left for the bin. This meant that when it came to selling, they only had just over 300 bottles available compared to over 600 for Sterling.

Quiet Michael made the decision that he should do the trade pitches for Phoenix and was totally incompetent. Katie had advised that they should sell to trade for no lower than £1.99 per unit but, after being offered £1.95 per unit by a local retailer Michael took the ‘executive decision’ to turn it down and walk away. In the real world fo pitching, where it’s more than likely thousands of units being pitched, that 4p difference can add up to a hefty sum and could understandably jeopardise an order but in a time limited situation, where every penny of sales count, you grab that opportunity and run! Michael showed not only his inability to make important decisions but also his lack of leadership right then.

The boardroom revealed that Sterling had won the task with a profit of over £1000 versus Phoenix’s profit of almost £600 so yet again, Katie is back in the boardroom, bringing with her Ricky and Michael.

Have you ever noticed how the word strategy is banded around the boardroom like it’s tea and biscuits? Well this week was no different. A constant barrage of comments regarding their strategy drove viewers insane, after all, it’s just a fancy word for plan and by the time these three were in front of Lord Sugar, they each had a different idea of the strategy they had been following.

I think I should make it clear here that I’m actually quite a fan of Katie, I think she could be the dark horse in this competition and I may possibly be a little biased but she carried herself very well in the boardroom, remaining calm (unlike the women before her), giving clear concise and sensible answers to each question and accusation laid before her. Ricky on the other hand was the complete opposite.

There are many men out there who consider themselves to be smarter than the average bear but Ricky really does think he’s something else! He made a point of stating that all good things that occurred during the task were entirely down to his leadership (does this include the excessive wastage and lack of products to sell Ricky?) and that all detrimental elements were on the shoulders of the other team members. Yeah, OK.

Lord Sugar had his work cut out this week with the two men in the boardroom, let’s face it, the show would be enhanced by the firing of both of them, but after deducing that he was unable to cope with the process the famous finger was pointed, the infamous words were uttered and Michael was gone.

I think Katie was saved because she recognised that in order to make up for the shortfall of product, she had to increase the RRP leaving a larger margin for profit. This pleased Lord Sugar but she was warned not to be back in the board again soon.

What will next week hold? Who knows but we can’t wait to find out!

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