The problem with letting staff eat and hang out where they work is that free drinks and free food will begin to walk out the door.
I worked in a cafeteria for a time and we always took food home. But this was a perk of the job. The pay was low, but you always ate for free.
Every now and then, there would not be enough of a particular food to serve again, and I would go home with 15 pounds of sausage or something random like that.
But we never had a fine atmosphere to uphold. And we never had booze to serve.
Understand: Misfits and booze do not mix.
It’s a central irony of fine dining that, unlike the waiters who serve their food, the cooks are very rarely able to afford to eat what they have spent years learning to make. They are usually not welcome, in any case. They don’t have the clothes for it. Many, if not most, expensive restaurants specifically prohibit their employees from coming as customers—at any time. The reasoning is part practical and part, one suspects, aesthetic. One doesn’t want a bunch of loud, badly dressed cooks laughing and talking in an overfamiliar way with the bartender while trying to maintain an atmosphere of sophistication—of romantic illusion. There is also the temptation to slip freebies to people one works with every day. From the point of view of any sensible restaurateur or manager, it’s generally believed to be a bad thing. Once you let employees start drinking in their own place of work—even on their days off—you’ve unleashed the dogs of war. No good can come of it.
-Anthony Bourdain, Medium Raw