Taco Bell now serves a careful mixture of cabbage with every handful of lettuce, and other restaurants no longer automatically give customers water - signs that California's drought is being felt in Utah.
Keith Atwood, manager for Taco Bell in Provo, said that because of the high cost of lettuce, the restaurant also charges for extra lettuce."Our lettuce comes out of California. Whatever the water situation is there, it affects what we are getting here," he said.
Taco Bell's main office began experimenting several weeks ago on the cabbage/lettuce combination and finally released it for public consumption. One employee in Orem said the quality of the food is little affected by the addition of cabbage.
"You wouldn't even notice if we didn't tell you," she said.
Although the change is expected to be only temporary,, it should last as long as lettuce prices climb and rainfall remains low in California, affecting the lettuce crop.Other restaurants have taken different steps to confront water shortages.
Devon Morino, general manager of The Brick Oven in Provo, said his restaurant's mission statement includes a pledge to be environmentally responsible. One of the ways to implement that statement was to only offer glasses of water upon request.
"Before, when a patron sat down they automatically received a glass of water. Our new policy should cut down on the water we use to wash glasses that the patrons never touch," Morino said. "We haven't seen a difference in our water bills yet, but we believe we will see a considerable change in the future."
Similar changes at Denny's and JB's Family Restaurants influenced the new policy.
Those restaurants hope to do more than just save a little water. With a little bit of luck, they hope to have a positive influence on the water habits of Americans.