I Knew That – Pizza Hut Training Video (1980s)

We know the importance of Making it Great and our Fairy Dust recipe is on point, but there’s been something missing with the Pizza Hut training program up to this point. There’s a distinct lack of hokey-ness, that strange compulsion of the ’70s and ’80s to inject a narrative into situations that don’t really need one. Wendy’s has it in spades in pretty much all of their training videos.

This Pizza Hut video, “Just the Facts” focusing on the salad bar and beverage service reaches for that hokey-ness, brushes its fingers against it, and while it doesn’t quite land in Wendy’s territory it manages to hit enough high notes to set it apart from the rest.

The video opens on a Dragnet parody, featuring a hungry detective named Monday. Groan. He’s looking for lunch options, pulling menus out of filing cabinets, looking at nearby restaurants through blinds, making asides to the camera, typical detective stuff.

We then cut to a pretty standard training video centered around a senior management-type and a rookie employee. Through the rookie’s eyes we see the proper way to set up a salad bar…

…prepare lettuce, grossly…

…and prepare beer, both in a pitcher and a pint glass.

An elderly woman pesters both the manager and the rookie several times throughout the video, asking very specific questions.

It seems like just an artificial plot device to get more training info into the video – because it is – but there’s also another reason for it. It turns out she works for Detective Monday, tasked with staking out the Pizza Hut to make sure it was up to his high standards before he made his lunch choice.

You can tell that the producers are very proud of this twist ending.

It’s a lot: the manager’s exaggerated southern enthusiasm about Pizza Hut’s quality control, the rookie’s suspicion around why this lady’s asking so many questions, and the lady, who’s just asking SO many questions. A few down moments aside like the wordless 35-second sequence of the manager making tea, this video is actually pretty well paced. And that twist ending! The other Making it Great video probably has more organic charm, but I’ll take a hamfisted narrative in my training videos any day. You?


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