KFC UK and Ireland (UK&I) has announced plans to open 300 new restaurants in the region over the next five years.

The fast-food restaurant chain has also announced the opening of its 1,000th restaurant in the UK&I.

KFC UK&I general manager Paula MacKenzie said: “We’ve been on a transformation journey over the last five years to become a more connected and vibrant business.

“Reaching 1,000 restaurants is a testament to our growth and commitment to serving delicious fried chicken up and down the country.”

This year, the restaurant company aims to open 50 new locations across the UK&I, a move that is expected to create 1,500 new employment opportunities.

KFC said that its expansion plan is backed by a major investment in its staff, which currently has a workforce of 27,000 in the UK&I.

Under its franchise model, KFC UK&I currently works with 33 different franchisees.

MacKenzie added: “From Dundee to Newquay, we’re in more communities than ever before. We know the role restaurants like ours play in employment levels and upskilling the next generation.

“We want to be good business and a good neighbour and are committed to ensuring this remains the case as our growth continues with greater investment in our people and in our communities.”

By 2025, KFC UK&I plans to reduce the calories of its menu items by 20% per serving.

Last September, EG Group acquired 52 KFC restaurants located in the UK’s south and south-west regions from Amsric Group.

The deal included both drive-thru and traditional restaurant formats.