Obviously this involves food, and probably sandwiches.
Rocky Andrew immediately suggests himself as project manager for the boys team: Empire. Everyone looks relieved and think the task’s either in the bag or Rocky will go because his vast experience means the lads have a classic excuse: “we should have won because he was an expert!”
In a similar vein the girls are all relieved when Yasmina Siadatan who “runs a restaurant” puts herself forward. This is the same Yasmina who is a finance director and confidently expected some poor soul to pay £300 for the Ignite team to clean 3 stretched limos.
The Apprentice’s Food Task
Now let’s take a look at this task…
First “The Objective” is, as always, to make more profit than the other team whilst satisfying the customers.
Second “The Customers” are:
- City high-flyers
- They earn a lot of money
- They expect the best
- They probably don’t want run of the mill sandwiches
- They want a good sandwich, good canapés and a good event
Third the key areas to be concerned with are:
- Creating food that has an acceptable quality (that is taste and looks)
- Checking what sort of charges these firms expect for events and sandwiches
- Making food at a price that get a reasonable profit
- Ensuring the event is well managed
So how do The Apprentices manage?
Empire Makes An Olympics Dog’s Dinner
Some bright spark comes up with the idea of making the London 2012 Olympics the theme for the evening. And who on earth thought of using peanut butter sandwiches? What about nut allergies? Which Rocky should have known about. And as Paul says “it’s not to everyone’s taste.” No it’s not so why not make something with wider appeal?
Rocky looks slightly concerned but then accepts it and they’re off at a metaphorical gallop. Rocky’s experience means that they can quickly come up with a variety of different sandwiches.
An Estate Agent Who Can’t Sell or Negotiate?
And straight into the sales ring leaps our forthright estate agent, PhillipTaylor. He’s out to get those lunchtime sales and fails.
In the meantime Howard Ebison (who manages 10 pubs) has the bright idea about ringing one (yes, just one) other sandwich company to see what they would charge for an event. He doesn’t spell out exactly what they’re planning – that is a stand up buffet for 50 people. But he does get a price – £50 to £60 per person.
Rocky tells Phillip to pitch at £60 per person for their Olympic evening event. Phillip isn’t happy and the sales team all agree that £60 is stupid money. And sure enough when they pitch the £60 per head event to the client the look of surprise is comical.
Then Phillip negotiates his own price down further and further until he gives the client the same £60 a head event for £15 a head!
Rocky Fights On With The Tacky Olympic Theme
However, Rocky seems on the ropes with the evening event as he tries to buy costumes and decorations for it. Despite Howard’s misgivings Rocky insists that the event needs to be fun! He comes up with old style Olympic togas for the lads to wear, a few statues and some gold table clothes. And the sandwiches are distinctly lacking in style, Olympic association or ease of eating when standing up.
Rocky decides to make a whole lot of sandwiches on-spec to sell to the unsuspecting London public at lunchtime and actually cleans up with the tourists – well done Rocky. Despite James wearing a boxers outfit and looking as though he’d like to beat someone into buying some sandwiches.
However, the evening event for Kirkland & Ellis (an international law firm) is an absolute disaster. The lads parade their semi-naked flesh around the room holding the sandwiches on aluminium trays so the whole effect is tacky and cheap. The supposed canapés, including a ploughman’s on a cocktail stick go down like lead balloons.
Plus why did Rocky as project manager give the event co-ordinating job to James? And during the event the client apologises to his visitors.
Ignite Concentrate On A No-Cost Event
Yasmina decides that the team will have a Mediterranean theme and all food will be the cheapest possible. Nothing actually wrong with that, just that the menu contains very little that’s attractive for the evening event.
Unlike Empire the girls get some lunchtime orders.
Kate Walsh acts as the salesperson and flounders when trying to tell the evening event clients the canapés they can have.
The client says he’s not happy with how the event appears to be managed at the moment so reserves the right to claw back money if they get it wrong..
Later Kate, yet again, behind the project manager’s back pipes up with a great comment, that she’s concerned that Yasmina is much too concerned with cost (because of the car cleaning debacle) and she’s ignoring the quality.
Food Glorious Food, As Long As It’s Cheap!
Yasmina gees her team up by telling them to call her chef!
The only problem is that no one is taught how to prepare the wraps that Yasmina has said they’re making. Although portion control is very strict, plus Yasmina explains how to cut tomatoes so they “look” more in a box!
Ignites Lean Lunch
When the girls deliver their lunches it’s obvious that the clients are unhappy. One suggests that one lunchtime sandwich per person is insufficient. Another that there’s no dressing on the salad and yet another finds a hair in her salad. Finally to cap it all they discover that at least one chicken wrap has no chicken.
Giant Tomato Fest
Later during preparation for the evening event Margaret helpfully points out that Yasmina’s huge chunks of French bread stick with bits of tomato on aren’t really canapés. Yasmina suggests that it’s not a problem as the guests will have had plenty of wine by then and wont care!
It looks as though every canapé has tomato on it.
The girls did manage to present the food better than the boys, by a long way, despite all the tomato!
And of course yet again Yasmina was confident that the client would overlook the food shortcomings once she spoke to them after more champagne. Presumably she assumes everyone gets paralytic and incapable of decisions.
Back To The Boardroom
Ignite spent £354.77 and the client paid £500 rather than the agreed £750 because o the poor food quality giving a total of £1,006.20 and producing a profit of £651.43
Empire conveniently forgot they were meant to be making a profit and spent £821.37 against their agreed £750 for the event. As the client was unhappy the amount paid was halved to £375 giving sales of £666.61 resulting in a loss of £160.76.
Empire Doling Out Large Portions of Blame
James did a lot of talking and made sure that the sales team was fingered. Sir Alan asked the very good question – who worked out the costs?
Nick points out that Phillip’s sales patter was rubbish. He also pointed out that during the evening event Noorul who was meant to be helping with the event management was simply wandering around with a tray.
Sir Alan gets back to the point that the costs were not even looked at by Rocky.
In the end Sir Alan’s firing finger points at Rocky.
Was The Apprentice Firing Fair?
Rocky was completely in the wrong for not checking the costs. Equally Howard who runs 10 pubs should have had a very good idea of prices and should have reined Rocky in.
However, Rocky didn’t bother checking the profitability of the whole thing. Unforgivable, as Sir Alan always wants a profit.
James admitted that his mouth got himself into trouble. And yet although he kept speaking he didn’t actually say anything. Then when asked who should be fired James suggested that both Howard and Rocky should both be fired. James was a definite waffler so I think James needs to go next.
In the end it was a toss up between firing Rocky and James. Rocky simply made more mistakes and so in the end I agree that Rocky was right to go.