Why Restaurant Staff Shouldn’t Get Staff Drinks at Work

Restaurant professionals all understand the importance of a cohesive team and the bonding that can occur over a shared drink after a busy shift. While it’s tempting to allow staff to wind down together in the very environment they work, there are compelling reasons to encourage this practice to take place elsewhere. Let’s explore why it’s crucial for the health of your business, the well-being of your staff, and the satisfaction of your customers to keep after-work socializing off-premises.

Encouraging social activities that do not revolve around drinking can contribute to healthier lifestyle choices and support the mental and physical well-being of your team.

1. Reducing Legal Liability and Professional Boundaries

One of the primary concerns with allowing staff drinks at the workplace is the potential legal liability. When alcohol is involved, even in a controlled environment like a restaurant, the risk of incidents increases. From slips and falls to more severe alcohol-related accidents, the liability for the restaurant can be significant. Additionally, the blurring of professional lines can lead to conflicts and complications. Staff may feel less inclined to adhere to professional standards in a space where they also socialize, potentially impacting work performance and dynamics.

2. Maintaining a Customer-Centric Environment

Your restaurant is a business that serves customers, and every aspect of your space should be optimized for customer experience. When staff occupy the bar or dining area after hours, it can detract from the ambiance you’ve worked hard to create for paying guests. Customers might feel like they are intruding on a private event or may be put off by the shift in atmosphere when employees transition from service providers to socializers in the same space.

3. Discouraging a Culture of Drinking

Working in the hospitality industry, especially in roles that involve serving alcohol, shouldn’t necessitate drinking as part of the job. By hosting staff drinks at the workplace, there’s an implicit endorsement of drinking as an integral aspect of employment. This can be particularly challenging for staff members who are underage, those who choose not to drink, or individuals in recovery from addiction. Creating a safe and inclusive environment means recognizing and respecting these boundaries.

4. Addressing Health and Wellness

Alcohol, while a facilitator of fun and relaxation, also carries health risks and the potential for misuse. As an employer, fostering an environment that prioritizes the health and well-being of your staff is crucial. Encouraging social activities that do not revolve around drinking can contribute to healthier lifestyle choices and support the mental and physical well-being of your team.

5. Encouraging True Downtime and Separation

There is significant value in physically and mentally clocking out from the workplace. When staff linger in the same space after hours, it can be difficult for them to fully disengage from work stresses and responsibilities. Encouraging your team to socialize off-premises not only helps maintain professional boundaries but also allows for genuine downtime, which can improve overall job satisfaction and performance.


While it’s essential to cultivate a team spirit and provide opportunities for your staff to bond, it’s equally important to do so in a way that safeguards the interests of your business and the well-being of all employees. Encouraging staff to socialize away from the restaurant can help maintain professional standards, reduce potential liabilities, and ensure that your establishment remains a welcoming space for customers and a supportive environment for all staff members. Let’s celebrate our successes, but let’s do it in a way that keeps our teams safe, happy, and professional.

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