Pizza Express is to double the amount of its restaurants in Northern Ireland with six new openings, which will see the creation of an additional 200 jobs.
The pizza chain, which first opened its doors in 1996, currently has 400 restaurants across the United Kingdom, 14 in the Republic of Ireland, where it trades under the Milano brand, and has expanded to China, the United Arab Emirates and India.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the chain's operations director Zoe Bowley said it will be opening two of the new restaurants in Belfast next month, with one in the city centre and the other in east Belfast, and has plans to open locations outside of Belfast.
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Bowley said: "We think there is probably one more [opening] in Belfast, in the Titanic Quarter. We would then look to move out to Carrickfergus, Derry, Newry, Bangor. We've got a strong acquisition team that will bring us an opportunity every time there is a development in the market."
Discussing nearby competition the openings will face, Bowley added: "We can go in and punch above our weight with brands, and we also trade very successfully in other markets up against independents."