US burger brand Wendy's is aiming to have 45 UK restaurants open by the end of 2023.
The company had 29 sites in the UK at the end of 2022, including 12 company-owned restaurants, one under franchise and 16 delivery locations run in partnership with ‘dark kitchen' expert Reef.
Wendy's returned to the UK in 2021 after a 20-year break and is aiming to use the country as a base to expand into Ireland and Spain.
Speaking on a call to investors, chief executive Todd Penegor said: "We do think by the end of 2023 we will be 45 restaurants strong across that portfolio [in the UK]. That will give us that home base to continue to drive growth into Spain and into Ireland.
"We've got the supply chain in place, we're working on partners, we've got master franchise arrangements we're trying to get in place to really accelerate that growth in 2024 and beyond."
In the past two years, Wendy's has opened in locations including Brighton, Reading, Oxford, and London's Stratford, Croydon, Camden, Ilford, and Romford.
In 2021, Wendy's said it was aiming to roll-out 700 delivery kitchens across the USA, Canada and the UK within five years, but has since scaled back its plans.
Penegor said the brand had "tested and learned" with several restaurant formats but told investors this week the Wendy's did "not envision that delivery kitchens will be a large element of our growth trajectory moving forward".
He added that the group's overall vision was to become "the world's most thriving and beloved restaurant brand".
Wendy's was founded in Columbus, Ohio in 1969 and now operates more than 6,800 restaurants worldwide.