This week the candidates are called to St Katharine Docks, once a bustling commercial port where Lord Sugar explains their latest task: “I used to come and play here as a kid, believe it or not. One of the commodities that used to come into these docks was spices, things like cinnamon and saffron. You might be wondering what that’s got to do with the task today. Well the task today is all about you going off and making a new condiment. Of course we all know about the big brands that monopolise the market but it’s the innovative start-ups that have actually carved themselves a niche in the market place and that’s what I want you to do.”
Lord Sugar has arranged a specialist factory for them and outlines the importance in understanding the ingredients. The candidates will not only have to create a new product but also create a brand name and design, before attempting to sell their condiments to both trade and the public.
With the girls having lost two challenges in a row, Lord Sugar decides to mix the teams up and moves Duane Bryan and Nick over to Sterling, with Katie joining Phoenix.
Which team will relish the challenge and who will be left playing ‘ketch-up’?
NO SAMPLES LEAVES STERLING IN A PICKLE
Duane is quick to volunteer himself as Project Manager of his new team and hopes that he can lead Sterling to their first win. The team opts for a luxury pineapple chilli chutney targeted at food connoisseurs, despite Jane McEvoy, who is experienced in food manufacturing, voicing her concerns that it is an already heavily saturated market.
With the name Infusion picked, the team set about making their samples at the factory. However Jane takes a while to calculate the figures and ingredients, leaving Sterling racing against the clock to make their sample batch in time. Tasting the concoction leaves Duane retching so the team has no choice but to bin their samples and head to the pitches with nothing to offer the buyers to taste. A bewildered Nick Hewer comments, “too much chilli by a factor of three and what we ended up with was a vicious chilli chutney. That means no samples will arrive because they can’t send that lot out.”
Pitching to the buyers, the team must rely on their descriptions of the product to win orders, with one buyer remarking, “I have to say this is probably the first time in history that somebody has turned up to try and sell us a product without the product. Until we taste it it’s very hard to take any decisions.”
A despondent Nick Holzherr comments, “it was very embarrassing pitching without a product. I thought Duane and myself should be able to turn this losing team around but it’s just not happening. It’s very frustrating, it’s a total shambles, it’s fallen apart. I’ve got no idea what’s going on at the factory but it doesn’t sound great.”
PHOENIX GET INTO A STICKY SITUATION
Over on Phoenix, Katie takes on the role of Project Manager of the boys. They decide to create a new table sauce due to the potentially huge market and mass appeal, opting for a Mediterranean ketchup.
Phoenix agree with Stephen Brady’s suggestion to call their product ‘Belissimo’, despite not really knowing the Italian word’s meaning and not realising that they have in fact spelt it wrong. Confident, Stephen states, “that word is going to get us to victory guys.” The team are left red-faced when the spelling error is pointed out to them at their pitch, with Karren commenting, “they’d made the sauce and they had the samples and actually the deal was in their sights. What has let them down is the spelling and I’m just not impressed. If you’re going to ask a stockist to put your product in their store you have got to get it right.”
Over at the factory the sub-team, led by Ricky, creates batches in bulk, but after issues with the consistency in one batch, they are forced to dump enough product to fill a hundred bottles. Regardless of this setback, Ricky remains upbeat, saying, “there were a few hiccups on the production line, we didn’t make maybe as much product as we wanted, but for me becoming sub-team leader today was to prove that I can take the charge and I can take the lead and I can get my voice heard. I think I managed the sub-team very well today.”
The rest of the team are less positive as, having lost a fifth of their product, Phoenix have no choice but to bump up their cost price, knowing this may alienate customers and going against their plan to appeal to the mass market.
MICHAEL MAKES A CONTROVERSIAL DECISION
The next morning the teams have ten hours to turn condiments into cash, with half of each team selling to customers and the other to trade.
Michael Copp is put in charge of the trade sub-team and is confident in this role, “At the end of the day all we’ve got to do is sell 80 bottles so it should be plain sailing for our end.”
This confidence is soon questioned however when a retailer offers to place an order for the product for only four pence less than Katie’s set cut off price and Michael refuses to budge. Azhar is not pleased about Michael’s decision, explaining, “I’m not very happy about the way that Michael is taking decisions in terms of negotiations. I was always reluctant for him to negotiate initially anyway. But he’s made the call, he’s the sub-team manager and I obviously have to respect his decision.”
Will Michael’s strategy prove ‘condi-mental’ or will Phoenix rise from the ashes? Tune in to find out who will be next to hear Lord Sugar’s immortal words: You’re Fired!