After a season opener that seemed tame by comparison, the second week of Donald Trump's 15-week job interview had fancy flavors, fiery fights, and a fabulous finish. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. It all started with something so sweet that it has to be spooned.
Trump explained that ice cream was a $20 billion industry. He's right. Global food conglomerates such as Unilever (NYSE: UN ) and Nestle command a good chunk of the market, but we can't forget our homegrown Dreyer's (Nasdaq: DRYR ) , which has seen its shares more than quadruple over the last five years.
Should we rain on this icy parade by pointing out that a single company -- Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) -- registered $20 billion in sales this past quarter alone? Sorry. Let's move on.
Apex and Mosaic were asked to team up with Ciao Bella Gelato Company to come up with a frozen concoction. The team that would sell the most the following day would emerge victorious. Kelly was tapped as project manager for Mosaic, while Ivana (no, not that Ivana) took the lead for Apex.
Mosaic was efficient from the start. It realized that the physical selling of the gelato would be even more important than the actual flavor, so Kelly took some team members over to Ciao Bella to come up with the treat while leaving Wes in charge of overseeing a sales team that stayed behind.
While Mosaic found little success in selling an unknown entity by phone, it ultimately inspired the end product when a call to Kelly introduced the idea of a doughnut ice cream. The team had to purchase the treats so they drove off to clear as much inventory as they could from an area Dunkin' Donuts -- a company owned by Allied Domecq (NYSE: AED ) , by the way.
Apex brainstormed until they decided on a red velvet cake flavor. Even though the Apex ladies came across Mosaic's plan to hit Times Square, they had the misfortune of setting up in front of the popular TKTS discount kiosk for Broadway tickets. The Producers? Not exactly. They produced nada as rival street vendors chased them away with permits in hand.
Mosaic's choice of doughnut as an ingredient proved big as they were able to pitch the treat in the morning as Breakfast Ice Cream, decked out in old-fashioned parlor style thanks to Raj's bowties.
Apex lacked direction. They lost valuable time in relocating their ice cream stands and even more time when the team was separated and Stacie gave out the wrong location as to their whereabouts.
While Jennifer C.'s inspiring idea to invite restaurant owners over was a hit -- resulting in some last-minute sales -- it wasn't enough.
If you whipped out your calculator, you knew that Mosaic had this won when Kelly suggested a 5% donation for leukemia research and arrived at nearly $150 as that payout. That meant the team had nearly $3000 in gross sales. Back out the doughnuts and the charity payout, and the team was at $2,707. Apex could muster only $2,472 in sales.
The boardroom meeting looked like it was going to come down to Ivana or Stacie when Bradford relinquished his immunity. Ivana pounced on the opportunity and brought him in, along with Stacie and Jennifer C.
While Trump's assistants had their choices -- Carolyn thought the weakest link was Ivana, while George cast his vote for Stacie -- Trump overrode their preferences by saying he had a strong conviction on this one. You had to know that Bradford would be toast. Sticking his neck out unnecessarily sent him home.
Rick: I can imagine every gelateria owner hopping mad over this week's episode. Ice cream and gelato are two different beasts! Still, I thought the ladies were suggesting some outlandish flavors like Bloody Mary -- thinking what mom would buy her kid a liquor-based treat -- but I see that Ciao Bella already makes apricot Chardonnay sorbet and Jack Daniel's butter pecan! Man, am I behind the times? I think I'll go crack open that pint of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey I saw in the freezer.
Dayana: Sorry, Rick. Chunky Monkey's old school. I think it was Jennifer C. that called her team's effort a boondoggle, and I couldn't agree more. The only two New Yorkers on the show as contestants -- Stacie and Jennifer C. -- are on Apex. Then Apex gets lost in the heart of the city. Unreal.
Tim: It was, and yet it was so New York, too -- especially the fight with the hot-dog vendor. But it was a commercial that entertained me the most. In hawking "Trump: The Game," The Donald looked like he was impersonating Saturday Night Live's Darrell Hammond impersonating him. Thanks for the chuckle, Donald, but don't expect to be replacing Monopoly, or Acquire -- a favorite on the Card & Board Games discussion board -- anytime soon.
Was Trump right to can Bradford?
Rick: Was this The Apprentice or The Benefactor? It was either sheer brilliance on Trump's part or a potential "Jump the Shark" moment. Ivana was the rudderless one this week. Stacie isn't going to last too long. I think Jennifer C. made a critical mistake when she kept talking even while Trump was saying that she was going to be safe this week. I understand that business is ruthless, but Bradford had a great day and still got canned. One can almost argue that by the same logic, once Kelly asked whether the team could donate all of the proceeds to the leukemia charity after it was declared victorious that Trump could have worked their sales down to zero and brought Mosaic to the boardroom instead.
Dayana: Bradford's bumbles cracked me up. Did you catch Carolyn's look when he called her Caroline? Please. It's not like her name is "Dayana." Sure, Bradford was great peddling the gelato, but he was clearly suffering from brain freeze when he offered up his head on the chopping block. Talk about "ego boot."
Tim: I still can't get over Ivana's so-called team meeting right before the boardroom that excluded Bradford and Stacie J. Trump said great leaders are supposed to be organized. They're supposed to inspire confidence and provide direction, too. Holding a secret meeting to "get everyone on board" to boot Stacie J. was gutless and displayed a willingness to do anything to save her neck. Stacie J. may be a loose cannon like the other girls complain, but she came up with an idea for boosting sales using temps while everyone else was wasting hours brainstorming dozens of meaningless names for ice cream. Seriously, how much brainstorming do you need? And even after all those hours, I still think the best suggestion came from our Trump's Apprentice discussion board: The Art of the Peel for an orange-flavored concoction.
Incidentally, what's your favorite ice cream?
Dayana: Mint chocolate chip, please. Or Dairy Queen's Peanut Buster Parfait if I can find a store.
Rick: Mine's a vanilla answer, but I'm a sucker for good ole Haagen-Dazs Vanilla. I also love Godiva's white chocolate with raspberry swirls -- which may not be all that different from the red velvet gelato that Apex came up with. Tim?
Tim: (Cue Homer Simpson voice.) Ummmmm, doughnuts.
Until next week, suite dreams.