Where Does Glassware Go?

Jim Luff
Posted on October 12, 2011
So many champagne flutes and rocks glasses mysteriously vaporize or splinter.
We will be making another trip to the restaurant supply store today to purchase glassware. It seems that glassware just constantly disappears from vehicles as fast as we can purchase them.
With rocks glasses running about $2.50 each and champagne flutes costing nearly $5 apiece, the losses add up to a significant amount. It is a never-ending battle to keep the cars stocked. It is disappointing to walk through our garage and see broken glassware in the trash almost on a weekly basis.
I have yet to figure out a science of controlling the glassware.  If you ask a chauffeur what happened to the glasses in the car and they say they don’t know, what can you do? If they tell you the client took the glassware, I sometimes charge the client for the missing glasses. I have a statement in my contract that informs the client they will be charged for missing or broken glassware. However, if the client accidentally breaks a champagne flute while aggressively toasting to the occasion that caused them to charter a limousine, are you really going to charge them?
If the chauffeur says he dropped one or two while cleaning the car, there is virtually no recourse. Employment laws are quite clear that you may not ever charge an employee for “a loss, shortage or breakage” that occurred on the job unless it can be proven that the employee acted in a negligent manner. Considering I probably wasn’t there when the glass was broken, it would be nearly impossible for me to assert my position in a court of law. Then again, I really can’t see myself wasting time in court to battle over a $5 glass.
I also have experienced clients attempting to walk away with glassware in hand many times during my career as a chauffeur. It is a fine line when your client gets out of the car at a private house party and you know he will be returning to the car later and you question him about it. I always reached out for the glass and politely said, “I’ll take care of that for you.” Many times I was scolded by the client or looked at with disdain for even mentioning it. I am sure I have some chauffeurs that just look at the client and smile as the client walks away with our glass figuring that we buy glasses by the case so it won’t really matter if one is missing. However, when this repeats even four or five times a week, the total can add up to more than $1,300 a year in lost glassware. That is a car payment! For some people, that might be a house payment.
I am interested in hearing how others control their glassware and handle losses and breakage either by a client or a chauffeur.

-- Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor

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Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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