Chawke's view on staff wrong, says Czech Igor
The Czech owner of a busy Dublin pub has insisted that the nationality of bar staff is not what is important, but that customers feel welcome.
"From a manager's point of view, when you hire someone you don't base it on their nationality, you base it on their experience," said Igor Mensik, who owns Pifko Bar and Grill on Usher's Quay.
"If you have someone working for you and the customer leaves feeling they were welcomed and made a new friend, then nationality has nothing to do with it."
Mr Mensik's comments came after Dublin publican Charlie Chawke said his frontline staff "have to be Irish".
"I believe it is essential to have Irish staff behind the bar or on the floor because they have the blas and the personality to get on with customers," said Mr Chawke, who owns nine popular bars.
But Mr Mensik, who opened Pifko four years ago, said that where a person comes from is not connected to their work performance.
"I definitely don't think that nationality in any industry has anything to do with how they do their job," he said.
Pifko's customer base is about 40pc Czech and Slovak with the rest made up of Irish drinkers and tourists.
"A decent percentage of my clients are Czechs and Slovaks, but not as many as you'd expect," said Mr Mensik.
"We get a lot of Irish people coming in who are now our locals."
His bar is characteristically Czech, with a menu that reflects its origins.
"The Czechs are well-known for making some of the best beers in the world, so we've that on draught and then food like goulash, dumplings and different dishes from our region," said Mr Mensik.
He moved here nine years ago, and after working in hospitality decided to go out on his own at the height of the recession.
"There was an opportunity to open my own bar and I just went for it," he said. "The first couple of years were tough, but business has improved a lot and we have come a long way."
Mr Mensik said he takes on staff based on skill and personality.
"When I hire I'm looking for someone who's pleasant and can create repeat custom and makes people feel welcome," he said.