Pizza Hut Delivery to invest £40m in the UK and Ireland, creating 3,000 jobs
About 50 of the new stores will take the ‘Pizza Hut Express’ format. Twitter

Pizza Hut Delivery has announced plans to expand across the UK and Ireland. The takeaway firm, which is owned by American fast-food giant Yum! Brands, said it would open 200 new takeaway stores over the next four years at an investment of £40m (€50.63m, $57.61m), leading to the creation of at least 3,000 new jobs.

About 50 of the proposed stores will take the 'Pizza Hut Express' format, which serves smaller pizzas in a quicker time frame, adding futher to its existing portfolio of 10 Express stores. The proposed expansion will be undertaken via the franchise route and, apart from allowing existing franchisees to take up new stores, the company will seek new franchise partners. The earmarked investment will come from both Pizza Hut and the franchisees themselves.

Raphael Miolane, Pizza Hut chief executive for the UK and Ireland, told The Telegraph: "We wouldn't be where we are today without our franchisees and we are looking forward to growing our existing relationships, whilst also developing new partnerships to achieve our ambitions."

The move is similar to Pizza Hut's 2012 expansion plan, when it announced that it would add 100 new stores across the UK and Ireland at an investment of £20m. However, the new announcement will allow the company - which has a portfolio of 419 stores in the region - to better compete with rival Domino's, which has a portfolio of about 875 stores in the UK and a further 47 in Ireland.

The move also comes at a time when the country's takeaway business is thriving on the back of popular smartphone apps, which have given a boost to placing orders over the internet. Apart from Domino's, which is a market leader in the app-delivery space, companies such as Just Eat and Deliveroo have also appeared to make a dominating mark in the sector.

Pizza Hut Delivery is a separate entity from the Pizza Hut restaurant business. The latter, which was previously owned by Yum! Brands - which also owns KFC and Taco Bell in the UK - was sold off to private equity firm Rutland Partners in 2012.