Fast food chain Four Star Pizza has announced plans to open a further 18 stores in the province and creating up to 300 new jobs in the process.
The firm, established in the Irish Republic in 1988, operates 46 stores across the island of Ireland with plans also in place to open an additional 16 stores south of the border.
The total expansion will bring the number of Four Star Pizza outlets in Ireland to 80.
“The Northern Ireland market is very important to us and has been steadily growing since the opening of our first Belfast franchise in 1999,” said director Brian Clarke.
“We view this market as a huge potential growth area which is reflected in our plans to increase our total number of stores in Northern Ireland to 30 by the end of 2019. With each store employing 15-20 staff, this level of expansion should create up to 300 new jobs in Northern Ireland.
“To date, we’ve invested approximately £2 million in our Northern Ireland operations but we plan to invest a further £3m over the next three years to help grow the business to the next level,” he added.
As part of that plan he said the company welcomed interest from potential franchisees. “We have an excellent relationship with our existing Northern Ireland franchisees,” he said.
“One now operates six outlets here whilst another has just opened his third store, having started out as a delivery driver.