GLASGOW-BASED restaurant chain Tony Macaroni is planning to expand its business model to create franchises throughout the UK.

The firm claim the ambitious plan would see £50m invested in the hospitality sector over the next three years creating up to 100 new restaurants and around 2000 jobs.

Tony Macaroni boss Sep Marini said: “The next year to 18 months will be exciting for everyone at Tony Macaroni. We are perfectly positioned to come out of the Covid-19 storm stronger and better than ever.

“Our restaurants have already seen pleasing levels of trade since lockdown began to be lifted because of the strength of our brand and the quality of food and service.

“Ultimately, I want the brand to become a prized fixture in every city and large town across the UK - and whilst we will continue to open more restaurants ourselves across Scotland, the time is right for us to offer experienced franchise operators, with the best locations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the chance to bring this much loved brand into their portfolios.”

Part of the Viva Italia Group, Tony Macaroni opened its first restaurant in 2007 and now has 19 restaurants under its umbrella. It currently employs 500 people across Scotland and Northern Ireland.

He added: “Our brand is much-loved throughout Scotland and our restaurants thrive because of their authenticity, consistency, superior menu, fresh ingredients and proven business model.

“Our new franchise model includes making sure new restaurants only open in prime locations, so that they have every opportunity to succeed. Our track record of transforming unit sales means there has never been a better time to invest in this fantastic brand.”