Philippines-based fast-food restaurant chain Jollibee is planning to open 50 new locations in the UK over the next five years.

The expansion plan also includes the launch of a flagship store in Leicester Square, London, in the first half of the next year.

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It will be followed by launches in Edinburgh, Leeds, Cardiff, and other major cities across the country.

In addition to the UK, the chain aims to open locations in Italy, Spain, and other European markets.

Jollibee Europe market head Adam Parkinson said: “We’re pushing forward with our continued growth plan across Europe as we believe that both the high streets and people’s livelihoods need the support once we come out the other side of this pandemic.”

Known for its Chickenjoy fried chicken and Jolly Spaghetti, Jollibee made its entry to the UK fast food market in 2018 with the opening of its London store.

The chain opened a second restaurant in Liverpool in September.

Jollibee is set to open its third UK location in Leicester this week, despite the national lockdown placed by the government to contain Covid-19.

The new location will initially offer take-away with dine-in and delivery services expected to follow when restrictions are lifted.

With a seating capacity for 134 people, the Leicester restaurant is the first UK Jollibee location to sell all-Halal meat.

Jollibee operates a global network of 1,466 stores with a presence in 34 countries.

In January, the chain opened two new restaurants in the Tampa Bay, Florida, and the island of Maui in Hawaii in the US.

Last year, Jollibee expanded its presence in the US by opening two restaurants across northern and southern California.