There is also interest in opening outlets of the chain in France and Britain. The company is embarking on a major expansion programme in Ireland.
Director of franchising with Hillbillies Dermot Carberry said the company has an ambitious development programme for Ireland in 2011 and 2012 through franchising.
“We will see a lot more Hillbillys restaurants located around Ireland. We also have considerable interest in our product offering outside of Ireland which we are currently investigating.
“We are fully aware of the recessionary times we are in currently however the market is now more favourable to realistic leasing rates on premises compared to four or five years ago,” he said.
Mr Carberry said the Cork-based company is having a lot of interest from existing franchisees of other brands that appeared to have paid “over and above fees in the Tiger years and are now struggling to make business sense from what should be a very profitable business”.
Hillbillys is opening a store in Letterkenny today as part of a €250,000 investment. The outlet will employ 15 people.
Established in 1997 in Cork by Michael Grace, Hillbilly’s is now a multi-million euro company. The business prides itself on sourcing their products from Irish suppliers.
It now has seven restaurants in Ireland, in Dublin, Cork, Tralee, Waterford and Ennis. The company said these businesses are performing very well and they are seeing more interest from families in their products.