I don’t frequent burger joints regularly, but when I do, it’s most often Wendy’s. What can I say; Dave Thomas knew what he was doing. Wendy’s burrowed its way deeper into my heart once I discovered the amazing training videos they’ve subjected their employees to. If you’ve never seen Hot Drinks, you’re in for a treat. Unfortunately, it would seem that the days of training videos where you learn how to serve drinks via rap/R&B songs is over, as Wendy’s has recently switched to using the wonderful Coca-cola Freestyle machine. So, today we take a moment to remember a simpler time, before space age technology gave us 100+ drink choices in one machine. A time when Wendy’s felt the need to train it’s employees on the proper procedure for serving soft drinks, in the most painful way possible.
Here’s your link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ-JBFXh2IU
Where as Hot Drinks brought us Wendell, spitting his hot fire, cold drinks plays it cool and mysterious. We start with the image of a sultry Wendy’s employee, superimposed over herself, while a smoth R&B beat plays. She’s either going to seduce us or start dancing with a rapping cartoon cat.
She begins serenading us with a mission statement: Soft drinks, lemonade, water, cold tea…it’s up to you, it’s up to me. You see, we’re in this thing together. We’re all that stands in the way of total drink related warfare. I don’t want that blood, or residual soda machine syrup on my hands.
We can’t serve drinks without the proper cups, and you’d damn well better know the correct sizes. Biggie, medium, small, kid’s meal. Keep it straight, she threatens, it’s a good deal.
Next, the proper procedures for filling a cup with ice are discussed. Use an ice scooper, not the cup itself, and certainly not your hands. No matter the size, fill the cup halfway with ice. That’s a practice I’m pretty sure they abandoned, I’ve received plenty of drinks that were filled to the brim with ice. Really, I can’t believe Wendy’s took so goddamn long to install self service soda fountains. I should have been able to write this article 10 years ago.
We enter into what I feel is the most cringe-worthy portion of the song; the discussion of how to properly fill a cup with soda. “Tilt the cup and push against the lever, keeps the foam down, now isn’t that clever?” Short answer: No, no it isn’t. The far more important element here is the next verse “If there’s still foam let it settle down, don’t pour it off or your boss will frown.” You can dress up threats however you want, they’re still threats. Soft R&B beat or not, I’m certainly intimidated.
After a brief bit about what to do with the drink once you’ve filled it(hint: put it on the tray) we get to what is by far the best part of this video. Every good R&B song needs a big sexy hook, and Cold Drinks is no different. Alright, actually it’s very different. We just get the girl letting loose some sensual “oooooh”s, while deep baritone voice whispers things like “ Don’t forget to smile when you serve cold drinks” “Always say thank you to the guest” and “You’re the one that can make the difference.” It’s like Barry White has decided that before he gets you out of your clothes, he wants to make sure you know how to make customers feel appreciated. And sexy? I’m not really sure, this video confuses me…am I supposed to want to make love to the soda?
Making the whole thing more confusing is iced tea. Remember how we’re only supposed to fill the ice halfway? Well for iced tea, you fill the son of a bitch all the way up. Are you sure doing that won’t make my boss frown? Am I supposed to smile when I serve the iced tea as well? Barry White didn’t come back to instruct us. Instead, we end with a dramatic key change and our singing trainer firmly stating “I know you can do it” while glaring at us menacingly.
Well, there are a lot of emotions swirling around in me after that one. I’d say Hot Drinks is the far superior song, but Cold Drinks is the far more subversive of the two. Hot Drinks seemed very focused on properly training the employees, where as Cold Drinks wanted to train them, but also seduce, arouse and intimidate them along the way. Please, if any of you worked at Wendy’s and actually had to sit through these training videos, speak up, I’d love to hear how your trainer could ever present them to you with a straight face. This isn’t even the end of it, there’s at least one more about how to properly serve chili, but I think we’ve been through enough for today.