The Apprentice; by our Apprentice. Week Three.

Well, Oliver, it was nice knowing you… probably not for Lord Sugar, but hey ho. You were an amusing candidate, but unfortunately for you this is not a comedy show. Much like Sugar said in episode 1, “the process is not personal. It’s business.” Oliver was made mincemeat out of in his final episode of the show… probably cooked in to one of his own sausages when he got home, too.

Lord Sugar thought of his sweet tooth when conjuring up this task. This week, the groups had to design and manufacture their own sweets brand to sell throughout Brighton. Last week, we saw Natalie ripped to shreds and put in the back of a taxi, but who was Lord’s Sugar’s latest loose cannon?

Apparently Lord Sugar didn’t trust the teams enough to pick their own project managers… good call. He even switched up the teams, maybe to see if there was any unseen potential awaiting him… On their behalf, he appointed Oliver and Alana to the position in light of their sausage and bakery businesses. He sternly reminded the group they were in dangerous waters and that they needed to take a big leap of faith in order to perform to a good standard. We don’t disagree with you there, Sugar.

The team were only given 2 days to manufacture some tempting treats and create a tasty profit for Lord Sugar’s sweet tooth. How did they cope?

Project manager of the Titans, Alana, seemed to kick start their sweet meeting rather well by thinking outside of the box to figure out what their target audience will want to see and how to go about giving the customer what they want. Sofiane put himself forward to be on the corporate side as he claims, “I’m not comfortable in the kitchen, I’ve got a wife who cooks for me’. I have no words. Not the best way to sell yourself, is it? Nebular’s leader, Oliver, went for the more traditional approach to sweet manufacturing. He’s not great at getting his words out though, is he? Not the best quality you look for in a leader…

Each teams were required to make their way to a candy kitchen and pick out the products they would remake. Nebular went with Ice Cream Flavored Rock as well as Salt and Vinegar Fudge, while Titans were drooling for sophisticated Strawberry & Champagne Pillows and Cappuccino Toffee.

The candy making process was a dismal performance from team Nebular. Oliver wasn’t quick enough making the rock or even learning how to, their overall performance throughout the day in the kitchen was just plain awful. Alana, project manager for Titans, kept a very close eye on her team and ensured the process was going smoothly…. For a while, anyway. Later in the episode the pillow machine gave in and the fudge stopped coming out to perfection. Alana broke down and put her team under tremendous pressure to get all sweets made before the time was up.

The Titans sales team, however, were too pushy in their pricing for Hove Albion FC. Sofiane pressured negotiators to try and fulfill their £400 spending mark, but this only serves to annoy the customer and therefore meant the team were forced to accept a very low price for a high quantity. As for Nebular, Rebecca led the sales team – but not very well. They went in with broken samples… what a start, guys. They did manage to get a good price on what they were able to sell to them, but they certainly could have sold more by asking them how many customers they usual have per day. Mukai went straight in with a set price of £75… really? You might as well have given them the sweets and quit the show there and then.

At the end of the candy manufacturing process both teams had a stressful, less than perfect day.

The next morning, a bright early start at 10:00am in Brighton, both teams head to the Grand Hotel as base. Nebular’s ‘Suck it & Sea’ brand name was very clever, I thought; it represented their chosen candy rather well. However, their pricing strategy was not really strategic at all. Oliver procrastinates like no one I have ever seen, why was it so hard for him to just say a number?! Nebular went with ‘Guiltees!’ for their chosen brand name. Original. Although, I did like the branding logo.

Sofiane’s sales team went to close the deal with Hove Albion FC and Courtney gives him some excellent advice on how not to sell products. Bit late for that now he’s already on The Apprentice…. Despite the cock up in the manufacturing process, Sofiane managed to improvise and sell them as ‘half footballs’, surprisingly closing the deal. I don’t know about you, but I’d be furious if an arrogant man in a tight pink shirt rocked up, after having tried to make me pay more than I could for their product, and give me a completely different product! The cheek of it… Alana’s market team had loads of interest, but less than sufficient sales to begin with. As the day went on, sales picked up and they were selling at amazing rates. At the Brighton pier, Samuel ignored Alana’s advice on selling products at the same price – debate time: is there any need for project managers when no one even listens to them?

Over at the winery, Mukai manages to sell an additional batch and sell for £1.07 per bag, negotiating down from £1.50. Paul looked less than impressed, calling the rest of the team, ‘a <insert bad word here> shambles.’ Everyone left thinking they had snagged an awesome deal, except Paul. The next place they go to, Paul decides to sit outside and watch the goods… not really doing much about his complaints, is he? Inside the shop, their performance is terrible. Obviously that had pricing in mind, but they spent too long dithering with calculations and looked rather unprofessional to the store managers. Back at the market stall, Karthik appeared to have an unusual approach to selling their products by shouting, “suck it! Who wants to suck it?” not sure that’s going to be reeling in the right kind of audience…

After a long day of grafting to drive sales, it’s back to the boardroom. Everyone looks as petrified of Lord Sugar as ever as he explains “this Sugar’s going to be very bad for one of you today”. It looked like Karen Brady and Claude Littner didn’t hesitate to bite in the boardroom either, both making hilarious interventions as candidates tried to manipulate the story to sound like they had done the best, when in fact every single person played a role in the failure of this task. The most memorable was Brady’s smack down of Oliver, after he claimed to have made “an executive decision” to move Paul to the corporate team. “That’s not true at all,” she said, laughing. “I think Paul got tired of you not making a decision.” Leaving Oliver completely speechless, of course. She might as well have coughed “bollocks”. Sugar also made Oliver admit that he was an ‘Oompla Loompa’ in the candy making process…

Final Scores;

Nebular

Total Sales: £822.83

Cost: £207.75

Net Profit: £615.08

 

Titans

Total Sales; £1,215.09

Cost: £429.23

Net Profit: £785.66

So, Nebular were in the dog house with Lord Sugar. Oliver brought Paul and Mukai back to the boardroom with him. Paul but up a convincing argument and ultimately shone the blame on to Oliver to protect his own back. Unluckily for our sausage connoisseur, he was the one who’s “future was about as bright as one of your pigs,” according to Lord Sugar. He also pointed out that his best shot at winning £250,000 was by buying a scratch card. Mukai wasn’t far off the firing line though; he’d best step it up for next week!

If you missed last night’s episode, you can watch it here on BBC iPlayer:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0806vqc/the-apprentice-series-12-3-corporate-candy

Until the next appalling attempt from these candidates at conducting business; see you later!

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