Natasha Scribbins has missed out on a place in The Apprentice 2011 final after being fired in tonight's penultimate task. In a challenge which saw the candidates set up and branded a new fast food restaurant, Natasha, Jim and Susan's Team Venture failed to impress Lord Sugar and his group of industry experts with their Mexican themed outlet.
Being named after Caracas, the capital of South American country Venezuela, probably didn't help them get off to a good start.
However Team Logic, which saw Helen Project Manage with Tom, made their own share of silly mistakes, with their 'Best of British' themed restaurant. The pair opted to reference famous British historical figures, but ended up naming their store after Italian born Christopher Columbus.
After tasting their food and listening to their branding pitches, Lord Sugar and the experts marked the teams out of 10 in four categories: brand identity, customer experience, food quality and long-term viability, the responses were totted up and the results were as follows:
Logic averaged a mark of seven out of 10
Venture received an average of just four out of 10
Lord Sugar complimented Helen and Tom and reveals to them: “You’re in the final! You’ve done very well getting through to this stage. Go back to the house, have a good rest, and I’ll be in touch shortly.”
Turning to Venture however, the boss told them: “I guess you must be sitting there wondering what your fate is now that those two are in the final. The good news is that two of you are going to be in the final, and the bad news is that one of you is going to be fired today,” before sending them out of the boardroom.
On their return, Lord Sugar asked the team to explain their business model for the restaurant: “Can one of you at least tell me what the business plan was. Where was the margins, how many did you expect to serve per hour.”
But as Susan begun to explain that they didn’t consider this, he interrupted: “One of you is supposed to go into business with me!”
He then criticised their expected takings: “£420 over a two hour period, you’d go bust” and the amount of time it took them to get the food out.
Jim tried to explain why it was slow: “Just by the very nature of it, the equipment we had and the make up of it” before he was interrupted by Karren: “I’m sorry but that’s not true… you didn’t know whether you were a fast food restaurant or a waitress service restaurant.”
Natasha claimed she learned from their mistakes on the first day: “What I learned from our experience is that we weren’t getting the food out fast enough, so I was actually endeavouring to buy more time… all I could do was look for a repair opportunity.”
Lord Sugar then brought up her degree in hospitality management: “You have some kind of degree in food and hospitality… which includes understanding food and all that stuff?” To which she replied: “It was a long time ago, and I’ve not continued with that kind of vocational career.”
The unimpressed Apprentice boss then moved on to the actual food: “When I opened the box, the last time I saw something like that was when my son’s dog puked… it was bad. Surely the priority must be that the stuff was good.”
It was then time for Lord Sugar's decision, but with the final in sight the candidates didn't go down without a fight.
Natasha and Jim soon clashed after both named the other as the person who should be fired, as Natasha told Jim: “You’ve got a bit of a dark side, you’re slightly underhand… You give off a very strong charm.” Susan added: “There is a reason you have been project manager twice and lost both times so badly.”
Jim however told Lord Sugar either of the others should be fired. Referring to Natasha’s degree and Susan’s experience of Mexican restaurants, he argued: “Their expertise fell by the wayside and they were happy to watch me flounder… If I did a hospitality degree I’d be grabbing this by the scruff of the neck.”
Lord Sugar then gave the trio one last chance to convince him to put them into the final, starting with Natasha: “Within my degree, I homed in on the areas I liked doing. At no point did I want to become a restaurateur” to which Lord Sugar replied: “No, but I did a degree in first aid, I didn’t enjoy doing mouth to mouth resuscitation, but I have to do it when it’s needed to be done.”
Next to address Lord Sugar was Susan: “I don’t honestly care what anyone else but you thinks. Actions speak louder than words… there is a reason I have won the two tasks I have PM’d on.”
Jim followed suit: “Talk about box of tricks, I can do it all. I can do sales, I can negotiate, I can pitch.”
Lord Sugar then delivered his final verdict, “It’s a very, very difficult decision I have to make now because you have come through 11 weeks of gruelling pressure... Jim, you have this kind of manner, some people might call it charisma, for getting people on your side and controlling the situation, which is a good trait sometimes in business but it also has its downfall. Susan, you don’t get on too well with people, that may be because you’re very determined and don’t take any prisoners. Anybody that I got into business with, I’ve got to be able to work with. Natasha, I can’t reconcile some of the things that have happened today… you started off like a house on fire but I have found you a little lacklustre in the last few weeks. Susan, there’s not many people that have got a good word to say for you… but you have achieved quite a bit in putting yourself through school and you’ve run a business. Susan… you’re in the final. Jim I like your spirit… you’re in the final. Natasha, You’re Fired!”
As Natasha is driven away in a taxi she said: “In this process, some of the characters will scream and shout and fight, and I’m not willing to lose my own dignity. I’ve walked out of this process with my head held high.”
The Apprentice 2011 final is this Sunday, July 17 on BBC One at 9PM.