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Jeffrey Buben is a glass act.

Jeffrey Buben‘s an old pro at examining every inch of Vidalia and Bistro Bis to find cost savings. He’ll review phone bills, ordering imbalances (too much product for too few customers), and overtime costs, anything to save cash and keep his staff employed in a bad economy. But one trick he’s currently using really caught my attention: It’s a contest to encourage the staff to be more careful with glassware.

As in please, please, please don’t break those long-stemmed wine glasses that can cost $4 each to replace.

The game goes like this: If the morning team makes it though a shift without breaking a wine glass, beer mug, Champagne flute, or any other glassware, Buben will throw a piece of paper with each employee’s name from that shift into a jar. Same goes for the afternoon team. At the end of the month, the five employees with the most entries in the jar receive some sort of prize. It could be a bottle of wine or a gift certificate for dinner at some other restaurant with which Buben has established a trade out.

“If we cut glass breakage in half…that’s huge,” Buben says. “We can save a couple of hundred a month.”

The only drawback is that Buben can’t do the contest every month. Why not? It seems the game loses its import and meaning if done constantly. Buben can only put the contest to use about twice a year, he says.