“Everyone has a story,” said Kieran Mulhall. “A cafe is a place where stories meet and stories are made.”
Every AAU student, professor, and faculty member has at least once encountered the witty puns and friendly faces of the Irish men who work there. From the 40 crown cappuccinos to the newly inputted card machine, the owner, Kieran, of the school’s campus cafe is doing everything to make a suitable environment for the students.
Kieran and a friend first came to Prague from Kilkenny, Ireland in 2004 with the flip of a coin. It was between Vienna and Prague, and Prague won. After working for about a year in various bars in Prague, he decided to get his masters at Charles University in International Economics and Political Studies, where he met former Cafe Des Taxis owner Hrishabh Sandilya. Kieran and Hrishabh became great friends while going to school. “He’s one of my best and longest friends here in Prague,” he says.
Kieran has always been attracted to the cafe and bar business. “I’ve worked in many office jobs and they kind of sap your soul. I’m a social person, so I like a job where I can talk to people and make people feel welcome and happy.”
In the past two years, the school’s cafe has has greatly improved. The prices of the baguettes have decreased 25% to accommodate students, a card reader has been implemented, and hot lunches are being served four times a week, soon to be five. They also just started a loyalty program, where if you buy nine hot drinks you get the tenth for free. Because most students are at this cafe at least three times a week, it won’t be difficult to reach ten drinks.
Kieran also hopes to expand the menu, get an ice cream machine, and add more Irish essence to the place. “That’s why I brought Bill!” he jokes.
The cafe is open from as early as 7:30 A.M. to as late at 9:30 P.M. The students have made this place the basic hang out and meeting place at school when they don’t have class.
Employee Teresa Calvo-Sotelo, who has worked at Cafe Des Taxis for about five months, comments on working there. “Mostly, it’s a really nice environment. Everyone who works here get along. There’s just good vibes.”
There has been some hardships Kieran has found with running the cafe here. “Finding a nice line between quality and price is really difficult, because every student has a different expectation when they come into the cafe. It’s so important that what I offer has a reasonable price, but also is good quality,” he said. He also struggles with being in a country where he doesn’t fluently speak the language, but friends have helped along the way.
Despite the few hardships, Kieran and the cafe team are doing their best to accommodate the students and faculty of AAU. Once the 2018 survey comes out, Kieran says he will take a look at it to see the complaints, and try to fix them as soon as possible. Cafe Des Taxis is also trying to be more eco-friendly by not offering plastic lids or straws unless asked for. “We love our customers… and the dolphins!” said Kieran with his cheeky Irish smile.