Starbucks UK & Ireland has announced plans to add 300 stores to its estate over the next five years, including 200 drive-thru sites, which it expects will create up to 5,000 new jobs. The chain said that around half of the drive-thrus will be operated under license by petrol forecourt retailer Euro Garages, with many of these stores set to open in the Midlands and the north of England. Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the announcement and called the plans to create 5,000 new jobs “a great boost for the British economy and the local communities that will directly benefit from these openings”. The group, which operates just nine drive-thru sites in the UK, is currently developing a new drive-thru format that it said would “bring new levels of comfort and environmental performance to the roadside”. The new expansion programme will see the c.700-strong chain, which has reported like-for-like sales growth for nine quarters in a row, top the 1,000-site mark in the UK. Kris Engskov, the recently appointed new managing director of Starbucks UK & Ireland, said: “Customers told us that they now expect the best possible coffee wherever they are and the success of our first drive-thru stores shows that this is a huge opportunity. It also means that we are able to create quality jobs at a time when they are most needed and because half of our baristas are under 24 years-old, this will particularly benefit young job-seekers at a time of record youth unemployment." Zuber Issa, managing director of Euro Garages, said: “Our relationship with Starbucks has been a huge success to date. We're delighted to be making such a positive announcement about our expansion together that will create new and exciting employment opportunities for so many people across our sites.”