Czech Republic: Romani family allegedly refused service in restaurant owned by Staropramen Brewery
A reader of news server Romea.cz has informed us of a case of alleged discrimination in access to services at the branch of the "Potrefená husa" restaurant located inside of Prague's main train station. Andrej Krišta invited several of his relatives to have dinner with him and a friend there before they traveled back to Slovakia.
The manager, however, refused them service, allegedly justifying his decision by saying one of their party was improperly dressed. According to the press spokesperson for the Staropramen Brewery, which operates the "Potrefená husa" franchise, there is no CCTV footage of the interaction, which means the situation is one of allegations only, as the employee of the restaurant who refused service also alleges that one of the party was drunk.
Krišta absolutely rejects such allegations and is convinced that the reason for their rejection is that they are Romani. He is currently considering taking further steps.
On Monday, 5 June, after 20:00, Krišta and his friend entered the "Potrefená husa" establishment in order to ask the staff if it would be possible to reserve a table for eight prior to their relatives' departure. At the time there were few customers in the restaurant and its garden area was almost empty.
A staff member allowed the men to put several tables together in anticipation of their party. When the relatives arrived, they attempted to enter the business by walking past the manager.
The moment Krišta's uncle was seen, the manager refused to let him in. He allegedly justified his decision by saying the man was improperly dressed.
"My uncle has a deformed spine, because of an illness, and he walks hunched over, but he was decidedly wearing clean, decent clothing like everybody else. I asked the employee of the restaurant what he meant by 'improperly dressed'. He was unable to give me a clear answer. The other customers sitting at the tables were wearing flip-flops and shorts," Krišta told news server Romea.cz.
"When my aunts found out about the situation, they were just embarrassed and wanted to leave. I told the manager that I would be complaining to his superior. He told me he was the manager, that he was the highest authority there, that he would not call the owner of the restaurant for me, and that we should immediately leave," Krišta said.
The manager of the franchise at the main train station, according to Pavel Barvík, spokesperson for Staropramen Brewery, described the situation differently. "If the customers fulfill all of the social norms related to visiting a restaurant facility, there is no reason they would not be served. We would never approve of a case involving any kind of discrimination. When asked about Mr Krišta's complaint, the staff member of the restaurant said the main reason he asked them to leave the restaurant was primarily the drunkenness of one of their party. After the staff member asked that customer to leave the establishment, he says that he was threatened by one of the party," Barvík told news server Romea.cz.
CCTV camera recorded nothing?
Andrej Krišta contacted the Staropramen Brewery after the incident, as it is responsible for having built up the network of franchises known as "Potrefená husa". The manager of that network, Jan Trochta, apologized to Mr Krišta by telephone, which was confirmed to news server Romea.cz by the press spokesperson for the Staropramen Brewery, Barvík.
Trochta allegedly also told Mr Krišta that he would proceed according to the CCTV footage of the incident. While the press spokesperson for the company confirmed to news server Romea.cz on 16 June that the restaurant does have a CCTV camera, its footage is not preserved.
"Our manager spoke with Mr Krišta and they explained the entire matter to each other. We said that if all had actually been in order with Mr Krišta's party, then we apologize. However, that has not been confirmed. At this moment it's all allegations and each side is sticking by their guns. Unfortunately, we do not archive footage of customers in our restaurants," Krišta told news server Romea.cz.
"My colleague is already taking action in this matter," the press spokesperson said when news server Romea.cz proposed that it would be useful to preserve such situations when they are captured on video. Krišta and the other people who were present have absolutely rejected the restaurant's characterization, however.
"The employee of the Staropramen Brewery with whom I spoke on the telephone claimed to me that he wanted to look at the CCTV footage. He brought it up himself. I do not understand why the footage is suddenly not available. None of us were drunk, I absolutely reject that. It's terrible," Krišta responded.
"I also work in hospitality and I know what is appropriate. What the manager did is incorrect. People who observed the entire situation agreed with us, but nobody got up to take our side. When we were leaving, the manager came up to us once more and tried to get us to stay. Maybe by then he realized he had not behaved correctly. We refused, naturally. At one moment I wanted to call the police, but because my relatives were supposed to get on the train soon, I didn't want them to miss it. I do not want to leave it at that, though, I am considering filing a further complaint," Krišta told news server Romea.cz.
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