Square Presents: The Misunderstood Heron
Kim, originally from Leenane and Chilean-born Reinaldo are not afraid of a challenge or going against the norm. That’s probably one of the reasons why their container cafe, The Misunderstood Heron, has become globally renowned for locally infused food in a truly breathtaking location.
The two travelled the world together then returned to Connemara and decided to build a food truck from scratch. Back then in 2017, food trucks were instantly associated with greasy fast foods, but the pair knew they would offer up flavours from around the world. Serving nutritious, real homemade dishes using, “local produce cooked in creative ways,” as Kim puts it.
Whether the menu is offering mussels fresh from the fjord or black pudding pasties, the food is always locally sourced and never conventional. Every dish has an aspect of it that comes from a local supplier.
“Having things that are seasonal and local are a major pull.”
People didn’t quite get it at first, or their choice of the most remote location. But they trusted their intuition and saw setting up within nature as an incredible opportunity to offer an immersive and unforgettable dining experience.
“It’s the experience as much as the food that keeps people coming back time and time again.”
They were right to follow their instincts. Five years on, the global go-to Lonely Planet, named The Misunderstood Heron one of the eight coolest food trucks in the world. They won the 2021 Food Truck of the Year award as part of the Irish Food & Wine Magazine awards, and whatever the season - people will queue to try their food.
They renovated their first truck, kitting it out from a shell with help from their friends using whatever materials they could source. And today, their team of eight cook up dishes from a large 20-foot shipping container.
“Square made life much easier.”
The last few pandemic-dominated years established outside eating as the new norm in all corners of the globe. So the choice of remote location deep within the awe-inspiring natural beauty of west Ireland, really confirmed The Misunderstood Heron as the place to go for locals. Or as Kim recalls, “we truly found ourselves in the midst of an outdoor eating explosion.”
As business evolved at a rate of knots, Kim made the switch to Square and POS life got a lot better. With their previous provider, due to their one-of-a-kind location with no landline or Wi-Fi, Kim struggled with poor customer service and inflexible products that didn’t gel with their business model, ethos or location. But the combination of Square’s easy-to-use hardware, bespoke customer service and in-depth reporting means they can focus their time on their craft and customers.
“For financial and sales reporting it’s been amazing. We have used it to shape the business because it gives us the information we need to make educated decisions. For example, when it comes to opening hours, we may not think we are busy at a certain time, but we can see via the reporting that it’s actually a good time for us and can shift the staff around to facilitate that.”
With a background in digital marketing, Kim is a whiz on social media and their now 17K strong following can be in on the action by the fjords wherever they are in the world.
Follow The Misunderstood Heron here and plan a visit in person if you can!