Little Caesars Pizza, the third largest pizza chain in the world, has announced plans to open its first restaurants in the United Kingdom.

The global brand, which currently operates in 27 countries and territories, will open its first store in Derby, in late December, followed by two stores in London and a store in Liverpool early next year.

Paula Vissing, chief operating officer for Little Caesars Pizza, said: “As we continue to expand around the world, we are thrilled to bring Little Caesars Pizza and our globally recognised value, quality and convenience to the U.K.

“The U.K. is an important new market for us given how influential it is. We expect to open several new sites in this market over the next few years, and we are excited to be entering with such strong franchisee groups in Derby, London, and Liverpool.”

Little Caesars previously operated in the UK but wound down its operations in around 2000 after failing to gain a substantial foothold in the territory.

Little Caesars UK was formed in 1985 and at its peak in 1989 the UK operation had about 18 branches, including Wimbledon, Surbiton, Harrow, Southampton, Twickenham, South Norwood and Fareham.

In recent years, Little Caesars has grown its international presence with restaurant openings in Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada.

The brand has plans to continue expanding throughout Europe with a specific focus on the U.K. and is seeking franchisees.

Jeremy Vitaro, chief development officer, added: “The U.K. pizza industry is valued at more than £2.5bn and is expected to continue growing year-over-year.

“Now is the time to capitalise on that growing momentum. We are seeking additional franchisees who are interested in entering into area developer agreements in London as well as other regions, including southern England, Scotland, and Ireland.”

Little Caesars was founded in 1959 in Detroit as a family pizzeria.