Yesterday I discovered that food I drop on a table in my tower cannot be picked up by others. This surprised me. I had expected things to work the same in my tower as in my house, where items dropped on furniture (vs. placed) can be picked up by others. I know there's a bug such that placed items do not lock reliably, but I thought others would be able to take items that I wanted to make available if I made sure sure to use "drop" rather than "place."
I was chagrined to discover that I was providing a Tantalus Table rather than a Community Kitchen, but according to LIve Help, this locking of items on furniture in towers is by design. This has advantages for decorating, but does it mean that there is no way to leave free food on tables or serve food from tables in towers? This called for some scientific experimentation!
Principle investigators Splendora, Flowerry Pott, and Ginnis have discovered the following, with assistance from a number of helpful players.
1. Items dropped on furniture in a tower by the tower owner will be locked in most cases, but this cannot be counted on.
2. Items dropped on furniture in a tower by someone other than an owner can be picked up by anyone in most cases.
3. One exception to the above is when a tower owner drops an item on furniture and then another person drops one or more items of the same type in the same place. In this case, all the dropped items stack together and can only be picked up by the tower owner.
4. If someone other than a tower owner drops an item on furniture, it will stay unlocked even if the tower owner adjusts its placement while not in decorating mode.
So the bottom line is that you can serve food from tables in towers, but you might have to hire a waiter to do it. And if you want everything placed just so, you may have to help the waiter!
There is no guarantee that all towers work as described. In fact, I am pretty sure that they do not all work the same right now.