The Apprentice 2012 – The War of the Roses

The Apprentice 2012 – The War of the Roses

Week 6 of The Apprentice saw the teams head off to Scotland to sell gourmet food on the streets of Edinburgh. Lord Sugar appointed the PMs – caveman Yorkshire market trader Adam, he of the mysogenist attitudes, to Phoenix, and Jenna, she of the scary stare and broad Lancastrian accent, to Sterling.  It was the War of the Roses writ large for television.

The task was to design a gourmet (that’s gourmet) dish that could be sold from a mobile site. The team with the biggest profit wins.

Immediately we have Adam giving us another of his priceless quotes “Street selling. I’m perfect”. This was to be matched a little later when Jenna asked team member Laura if she would be able to understand (and translate) any punters speaking scottish. One all, then.

In terms of Strategy, the teams took different approaches. Adam (did I mention he’s a market trader?) focused on maximising profit by going for meatballs and pasta made with the cheapest ingredients. Cheap Cheap Cheap was his philosophy, eventually making his “Utterly Delicious Meatballs” for 50p per serving and trying to sell it for £5.99.

Jenna and Sterling listened to Sugar’s advice to focus on quality and went for a traditional Scottish Casserole (“Gourmet Scot Pot”) made with Aberdeen Angus Beef (and generous amounts of it too). It cost £1.54 per serving and also retailed at about £6.

Adam’s Leadership style ensured that Phoenix were very focused on their given tasks, though he ignored Katie and gave best mate Stephen the task of leading the sales and marketing subgroup. He led the cooking team. Where Adam fell down was in his man management (pity he didn’t have any woman management). His blatant sexism and unreconstructed views created tension, especially with Katie.

Jenna didn’t look comfortable in her role as leader, and freely took advice from the team. Sterling were equally focused, but more harmonious. Jenna did have a tendency to panic when things were not going to plan, but she ensured the strategy was adhered to.

In terms of executing the strategy, this is where the teams diverged. Katie strongly suggested that a football match was the perfect site to pitch the mobile. This proved to be a fatal mistake and would lead to her eventual firing. The match was taking place on a Sunday lunchtime, and the food was overpriced for that market. Katie drew on her own experience from attending Fulham matches in West London. She actually wanted it to retail at £8.99. D’oh! Adam used all of his market trader experience to slash prices and move the item. At least he had plenty of profit margin to play with.

Stephen, Katie and Azhar meanwhile were trying to find a site for after the football lunchtime rush, and Stephen came up with the disasterous idea  of pitching their product on sightseeing buses, encouraging tourists to visit the mobile when it pitched up at the Grass Market. Adam was happy to go along with best mate Stephen’s advice, but the subteam missed the bus in more ways than one and few punters sampled the goods.

For Sterling, the focus was on Tourists and they set up firstly in Parliament Square and later on Princes Street. Unfortunaltely, this was a Sunday, and many people were full from their late breakfasts, and business was slow. They did persuade a local piper to play near their pitch, adding a traditional feel to their product.

In the boardroom it was revealed that Sterling had won, but only by £22 (or 4-5 servings of meatballs). Phoenix clearly shifted more units, despite poor choice of locations and Stephen’s tourist bus fiasco, but it was someone from their team who would be fired. Adam correctly identified the sales and marketing subteam as a weak link. That he chose to bring 3 -time loser Katie back was no surprise, but to choose Azhar (who had been quiet again) over Stephen was wrong. You have no mates in this competition.

Katie was fired for offering bad advice (prices, football) and repeat offending (she lost 4/6 tasks). Azhar showed that he has learned and put up a firm defence of his position. Adam was warned that he had made some critical errors, not least of which was ignoring Sugar’s advice about producing a quality product. He should get some credit for nearly pulling it off, but he was too quick to listen to Stephen. Actually, he only accepted Katie’s advice if it was endorsed by Stephen.

So the War of the Roses was won by Lancashire, but who will be the winner of the competition? Stephen is the one who got away this week and both he and Adam look out of their depth. Jenna was fortunate to win, but Tom and  Gabrielle still look like good candidates, but perhaps Azhar could be the outsider?

Comments welcome

About markdecosemo
Consulting Trainer and Coach to healthcare and pharmaceutical professionals

2 Responses to The Apprentice 2012 – The War of the Roses

  1. Tim says:

    I still have doubts about Azhar after his lackadaisical performance as PM in week 2, but he is certainly not one to be underestimated.

    I seem to be in a minority view for having Gabby as one of my favourites. People cite her lack of commercial ability – which is fair – but then she is also an ‘ideas’ person who has skills which are relevant to Sugar’s property business. There’s good synergy there, and it’s easy enough to assign some commercial support for her if the idea is good enough.

    Tom remains strong – and he has proven himself as a PM. Nick is also interesting to me, although he has kept his head down since leading the winning team in the opening task.

    Adam made some good decisions, but too many bad ones. Appointing his mate, salesman Stephen, as head of the marketing sub-team made no sense when he had two marketers anyway. Jenna led from the back, allowing her team to drive most of the decision-making. It was effective, but she didn’t really show any leadership quality for me here. She’s still an empty vessel making a lot of noise.

  2. Pingback: The Apprentice: E6 Tasty teamwork? « Clever Blogs

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