This Old Country Buffet Training Video From The ’90s Is The Greatest Thing On The Internet… & The Comments Are Even Better

Old Country Buffet training video
Old Country Buffet

Are you ready for a hit of nostalgia?

I’m sure a lot of us have fond memories of piling into the family vehicle and visiting the local buffet restaurant. Buffets were supposedly invented in Las Vegas in the 1940’s, but the family buffet craze really came into its own in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

One of the more popular buffet choices back in the day was the Old Country Buffet, which at one point had over 600 locations spread across the United States.

The restaurant chain sadly went out of business in 2020 (like a lot of the other buffet restaurants), but they had a hell of a run, and at one point produced this iconic training video that seems to go viral again and again every couple of months.

There’s a chance you’ve seen this one before, and if you haven’t, strap in, because it’s glorious. Prepare to time travel back to the 1980’s and 1990’s with a standard definition training video that often leans on energetic saxophone background music (and cheesy transitions).

Specifically, the training video focuses on the duty of the buffet carver, who if you remember played the critical role of cutting pieces of roast beef and ham for buffet visitors. And the Old Country Buffet emphasized in their instructional video that cutting the meat wasn’t their only responsibility.

They were also tasked with making small talk with guests, and were given these examples of things to ask customers while they carved up the meat they requested:

“Is it still hot out there?”

“Did you catch the game last night?”

“Have you tried the lasagna? It’s my favorite.”

Funny enough, those are three of my go-to elevator ice breakers (I love letting people know about my love for lasagna).

Another portion of the video told the buffet carvers to make sure they made friendly conversation with the children that came up to them as well, which if we’re being honest, came off a little creepy.

The man who played the carver in the clip (and probably was an actual carver at an Old Country Buffet location) asked kids these questions when they came up to get roast beef or ham:

“What grade are you in at school?”

“Have you decided what dessert you’re going to have?”

“Do you like hot fudge sundaes?”

Following that portion of the video, Old Country Buffet goes on to teach employees not give away too much roast beef to customers. Even if they request a thicker cut, the instructional footage suggested that the carver should say “the thinner you cut it, the more tender it is.”

That’s absolutely brilliant (and now I know why I was always shot down when I requested bigger slices at the buffet).

And in a strange and somewhat random portion of the clip, the narrator states this as the man cuts through the big chunk of ham:

“Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter to the knife if it’s cutting through a ham or your finger.”

They could have just said “be careful when cutting?” What an odd way to suggest being very safe about carving and serving guests of the buffet.

Anyways, you might as well just watch the viral clip at this point. Prepare to laugh at the sweaty, awkward meat carver as you also let the nostalgia take over:

Absolute gold. How did they ever go out of business? Oh, that’s right. Buffets slowly became viewed as unhygienic and the COVID-19 pandemic basically put the nail in the coffin for most of them.

But let’s not focus on that. Instead, let’s get to some of the comments that people left below the post:

“The late 80s/early 90s alto saxophone player was always on standby.”

“He asked about the weather outside because he’s been inside carving meat for 15 hours.”

“‘Answer the sweaty man honey.'”

“He wants everyone on lasagna so he can stop carving for awhile.”

“Some things I already knew, but some I didn’t! Thanks for posting.”

That last one was actually posted by singer/songwriter and wildly underrated guitarist John Mayer

And just in case you wanted to “go back for seconds” at the Old Country Buffet, I managed to track down the FULL LENGTH Old Country Buffet training video.

Please enjoy:

I’ll admit, I’ve gotten carried away with this story. I just love the video so much, and it brings me joy to talk about it (and hopefully share it with others for the very first time).

So just for good measure, here are some more comments from people that viewed the clip above and imagined some other “quick conversation starters” for the Old Country Buffet meat carver to deploy:

“Ever been in a Turkish prison?”

“You know how to deactivate an ankle monitor?”

“Are the police still outside?”

“You ever drank Bailey’s out of a shoe?”

“What do you think about chem-trails?”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock