From working in the kitchen on her own during lockdown to working out new furniture logistics in order to maintain social distancing, Goyas' owner, Emer Murray, admits the past five months have probably been some of the toughest in which she has been involved since the restaurant opened its doors nearly 30 years' ago.
But as Albert Einstein once famously said 'In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity', the proprietor of the Kirwan's Lane business says having to adapt the restrictions has enabled Goyas to expand the offering and services to its customers.
She says; "We have had to adapt. Whereas people may have seen us as maybe a place for cakes and sweets, the time has enabled us to give more time to our food range in our deli. Our range of take-home meals with sides have been popular and during lockdown we operated a pre-order and pick-up service so when people came into us because there were less distractions people could enjoy the diverse range of meals we have to offer.
"For the reopening we had to remove our square tables and replace them with circular ones. It is definitely more comfortable and more social for customers. I like it and if and when social distancing guidelines are eased, I won't be changing the arrangement back to the previous layout."
Emer reveals while the challenges have been huge since March, the period has enabled her to reassess.
"There was a huge number of weeks I working on my own in the kitchen so it was tough and very busy but the time has given me the freedom and headspace to come up with new ideas. At this time of the year we would normally have an influx of tourists but with that gone, we have to concentrate on local [customers] so we have been working hard on trends and what customers like and using social media, Facebook and Instagram, to promote our weekly specials.
"In the kitchen, we have really tried to spread our [work] emphasis to different areas. Before Covid, 80 per cent of my work day would have been spent on wedding cakes because it was such an important part of the business. That meant other areas may have not got the time needed to create new options. Now we have been able to spread the [work] emphasis and I have to say it is a lot more enjoyable."
While the future is uncertain, Emer is already looking at new ideas to improve the business.
"We will continue to build on what we have been doing here on the food side of things but looking at other aspects, we might add a few canopies outside and more tables and chairs and depending on the weather, heating lamps to our terrace. We don't have any traffic outside of our premises so we have a real opportunity to enhance the experience of our customers."
Goyas on Kirwan's Lane is open Wednesday to Friday from 10am to 4.30pm and Saturdays from 9.30am to 4.30am. For more information call 091 567010, email [email protected], or check Goyas' Facebook and Instagram pages.