Coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons has confirmed it will begin opening stores across Belfast as part of its latest expansion plans.
It comes a month after the Belfast Telegraph revealed the Canadian chain is aiming to open between 15 and 20 of its stores in Belfast and elsewhere in Northern Ireland.
Kevin Hydes, chief financial officer of the Tim Hortons franchise in the UK, said: “We were blown away by the reception we received in Glasgow, and are delighted to announce the opening of restaurants in Cardiff, Belfast and Manchester.”
The Canadian-owned firm is targeting the UK's biggest cities, and has already opened its first stand-alone store in Glasgow.
But it's now understood the company, which is operating under a franchise across the UK and Ireland, is now actively seeking up to 20 Northern Ireland locations, predominantly in Belfast.
One industry source said Tim Hortons was eyeing up as many as 20 stores in Belfast, with a similar number in cities such as Glasgow and Manchester. It's understood that commercial property agents have been appointed to oversee the roll-out.
Tim Hortons currently has no stores in Northern Ireland, or the Republic, but its products have been sold at convenience shops such as Spar.
A spokesman for Tim Hortons last month, said: "While we know lots of towns and cities are excited to get their first Tim Hortons, we always keep our donuts close to our chest until we're ready to make an announcement."
It is one of the largest fast food chains in North America, and has around 4,600 stores.
Tim Hortons restaurants will be opening in Manchester, Cardiff and Belfast over the coming months. The openings represent the second phase of an extensive, nationwide rollout plan.