The world's largest chain of ice cream shops today unveiled plans to nearly double its presence in the UK over the next three years in a move that could create up to 400 jobs.
Baskin-Robbins, which has 100 UK sites, including stand-alone restaurants and concessions in other shops and cinemas, wants to open another 80 franchises.
The announcement comes after the chain, which is owned by the group behind Dunkin' Donuts, opened three new venues yesterday in north-west London, Middlesex and Hertfordshire.
The move will be welcomed as youth unemployment in the UK remains above the one million mark and economists predict the total jobless rate will increase in the months ahead.
Nigel Travis, chief executive of parent group Dunkin Brands, said: "Baskin-Robbins' further growth in the UK provides an excellent opportunity for those looking to develop a franchise business. It also means hundreds of new jobs, which we are particularly pleased to be supporting."
Baskin-Robbins, which has more than 6,700 locations in nearly 50 countries around the world, said it was looking for "entrepreneurs with a strong financial background and a passion for their local communities".
The three new venues in London, Middlesex and Hertfordshire will feature the company's new international restaurant design, which includes lounge-style seating, interactive menu displays and improved dessert displays.
Baskin-Robbins, based in Massachusetts, was founded in 1945 and reported sales of nearly 1.8 billion US dollars (£1.1 billion) in 2011.