Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A is planning to open restaurants in Europe and Asia by 2026, with a $1bn plan to launch in five international markets by 2030.

The Wall Street Journal reports the chicken-focused chain will reach beyond North America as it sees “plenty of room to grow in the US” but is focused on building an international presence.

Chick-fil-A opened a UK location near London in 2019, but closed some months later following opposition from LGTBQ+ rights advocates.

The company currently runs restaurants in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Following the rising popularity of fried chicken and the UK debuts of brands such as Popeyes and Slim Chickens, Chick-fil-A will be the latest US brand to bring its crispy chicken sandwich to the UK.

It looks to maintain its simple offer, with chicken sandwiches, waffle fries, and milkshakes.

The company is the third biggest US fast food chain by sales, behind McDonald’s and Starbucks, according to market research firm Technomic Inc. Its US sales have quadrupled in the past decade, averaging $6.3m in sales in 2021 – roughly four times the average for KFC and Popeyes sales in the US.

Chick-fil-A is still determining how many international restaurants it will open, with plans to stick to its single-site franchisee model that sees franchisees work closely with the company to run just one restaurant and splitting profit with the chain after paying fees.