After the Winter War started, the regulations concerning serving alcohol became significantly stricter. Serving alcohol was allowed only when also food was served. Even then, it was only allowed to serve wines, malt drinks or up to 10 centiliters of strong alcohol. In year 1940, the regulations became even stricter. This led to customers smuggling alcohol beverages to the restaurants. In 1943, the production of beer was stopped, due to lack of raw material. Also groceries were being regulated. KansanhuoltoministeriÃ¶ could decide the name, content and price for every dish.
During time of war, many restaurants acquired their ingredients via the black market, in order to increase the contribution margin. The restaurants were obliged to have a double-entry bookkeeping. Naturally, this meant more work for the staff. For example, the waiters had to remember the secret code number for the black market products and they had to be careful that no illegal dishes were served to inspectors.
Even though the alcohol serving was strictly regulated and dancing was forbidden, people visited restaurants a lot, since going to restaurants was one of the few means of having fun. Dancing was only allowed on special occasions such as weddings or benefits. Regulating the restaurant prices was made easier in 1947 and the prohibition to dance was annulled in fall 1948.
In the 40’s Seurahuone was owned by Elien Sandbacka, who, together with architect K.J. Ahlskogin, began planning expanding the hotel already in towards the end of the previous decade. Before the expansion work began, Seurahuone was in poor condition when it came to the real-estate, finance as well as management. The expansion work began in 1941 and was finished in 1943. At the time, the hotel had business premises, restaurant, kitchen and reception on the first floor, SÃ¤llskapsklubben on the second floor, Restaurant Ostrobotnia, a cabinet and hotel rooms on the third floor, sauna premises and 40 hotel rooms on the fourth floor, apartments on the fifth floor and more apartments and a party hall on the sixth floor. After the war, a cafeteria, Mokkamotti, started operating on the basement floor of Seurahuone.