Jollibee Foods, the Philippines’ fast-food group which is opening its debut site in Earl’s Court, has said it plans to open 25 restaurants in the UK within five years.

Chief executive Ernesto Tanmantiong said the family-controlled group hoped to rival KFC in its bid to become a global brand, and was looking for further acquisitions in the US and China.

He said Jollibee would be looking to cater to the large diaspora population of Philippine workers with its eponymous brand, estimated at about 300,000 in the UK alone, while there was an opportunity to cross over to non-Filipino customers who did not know it yet.

Tanmantiong told the FT: “The UK has a very large Filipino population, and we also think that Jollibee products can cross over to the mainstream market — local British people.

“We see the potential of many stores in the UK.

He added: “We usually benchmark KFC, and we believe we have a better product than KFC.

“We see that KFC has many stores in the UK selling the same fried chicken, and we think we have a good opportunity to cater to the same market who are already eating fried chicken.”

The company opened its first European store in Milan in March and plans to open further outlets in Italy, Guam next year and Spain in 2020.

The company already has 41 stores in North America, one in Hong Kong’s Central district and one in Macau.

Jollibee owns most of the US chain Smashburger, operates Vietnam’s Highlands Coffee and Pho 24 noodle chains, runs Dunkin’ Donuts in some territories of China and the Burger King franchise in the Philippines.

In 2017 Jollibee held talks on buying Pret A Manger.