Four Star Pizza to serve up 300 jobs in Northern Ireland
Fast food chain Four Star Pizza has announced that it will create up to 300 new jobs in Northern Ireland stores as part of a £3m expansion plan here.
The Irish-owned chain has said it will be investing more in Northern Ireland than ever before.
Four Star Pizza's plans to open 18 new units in the next three years will bring its total to 30.
The chain also plans to open an extra 16 new stores in the Republic, bringing the total number of outlets there to 50.
Four Star Pizza's first restaurant here was opened in 1999 on the Beersbridge Road in Belfast.
Last October it opened a new outlet in Bangor, Co Down.
The company also has stores in Carrickfergus, Newry, Drumahoe, Derry, Armagh, Portstewart and Newtownabbey, among others.
Brian Clarke, director of Four Star Pizza, said the local market had "huge potential growth".
"The Northern Ireland market is very important to us and has been steadily growing since the opening of our first Belfast franchise in 1999," he said.
"With each store employing 15 to 20 staff, this level of expansion should create up to 300 new jobs.
"To date, we've invested approximately £2m 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."
The takeaway pizza chain was founded in 1988 and operates 46 stores across the island.
The latest expansion will bring the number of stores to 80.
Mr Clarke added: "We have an excellent relationship with our existing Northern Ireland franchisees.
"One franchisee now operates six outlets here whilst another has just opened his third store, having started life as a Four Star delivery driver.
"So, if there are any ambitious Northern Ireland entrepreneurs out there who would like to run their own business as a part of a progressive, marketing and information technology-driven brand, we would welcome their interest and invite them to make contact with us," he said.