PRET A Manger said it is to create 1,000 jobs worldwide this year and ramp up its expansion after it reported a 17 per cent jump in full-year profits.
The sandwich chain, which is majority owned by the private equity firm Bridgepoint, said at least 500 of the 1,000 new jobs will be created in the UK.
The food industry has faced criticism in the past for not doing enough to attract UK workers in times of high unemployment.
Pret launched a school-leaver programme last year targeting the school careers departments and aimed at encouraging more British applicants to join the firm.
Reporting its 2012 results today, Pret said profits increased from £52.4m to £61.1m while sales surged 17 per cent from £377m to £443m in 2012.
Clive Schlee, chief executive, said: “2012 was a strong year for Pret. We continued to invest in our core values, improving our menu, launching innovative employment schemes and building and refurbishing shops in all our markets.”
The group has 323 stores, primarily in the UK with shops in the US and Hong Kong and in France, and plans to open another 50 new shops this year after launching 36 last year.
Schlee said despite economic uncertainty in many of it markets 2013 had started well, with robust growth in the first quarter.