Coffee ain't what it used to be, or at least it won't be in a short while. Coffee shortages have grown so acture around the Square that blends of pure coffee and chicory will soon be pressed into service, according to four restaurateurs who don't know where their next cup of coffee is coming from.
As yet, only one restaurant has gone over to the chicory coffee combination. Hayes-Bicford's has swung to an 80 per cent coffee, 20 per cent chicory blend in an effort to supply the huge consumer demands.
Three other restaurants will swing into the blend parade when and if the shortage grows too acute. Hazen's, Leavitt and Peirce's, and the Merle all will use the blend, "if worst comes to worst," their managers and owners said yesterday.
Right now the four restaurants are barely scraping along on what they are able to beg, borrow, or steal. Only getting 50 or 60 per cent of what they were using, these places have tried to restrict the sale of coffee in various ways, including stopping sale of "coffee to go" and limiting people to one cup of coffee per meal. Hazen's, formerly using 100 pounds a week, now only gets 40-odd. The late-at-night business had been hit especially hard by this shortage, the manager said.
Cold Complicates Matters
To make matters even worse, the cold weather has increased the demand for the drink, and increased population in the Square, due to the addition of Naval Units, provides even more customers for coffee than the restaurants can easily handle.
To ease the situation they are urging the public to switch to other drinks. Milk especially is being boosted, along with hot chocolate, and assorted soft drinks.
Just when these changes will actually begin to hit the University members was not apparent yesterday. The supply of coffee, which is a week by week affair, may keep up at the present pace, or it may be suddenly cut off. The restaurateurs feel that their immediate future will be decided by government installation of a rationing system similar to the sugar one. This is the only way they think that they can be assured of a state supply of their most profitable beverage.