Wendy’s is speaking to 20 potential franchisees in the UK about its expansion ambitions.

The US quick service brand, which is on track to make its debut in Reading on 2 June, said it sees the long-term potential for up to 400 UK restaurants.

However chief financial officer Gunther Plosch told analysts no development agreements had been signed, and this was more of a belief.

Wendy’s, which has more than 6,000 locations, first came to the UK in the 1980s but exited its ten sites in 2000.

Plosch said: “We’re getting more and more excited about the UK. The UK consumer seems to be ready for us.

“We have built a robust franchise pipeline. We said it in the prepared remarks, about 20 franchisees put up their hands, and said, ‘I want to help Wendy’s grow in the UK.’

“Our chief development officer said there is no reason to believe why the long-term potential of the UK for us shouldn’t be 400 restaurants.

“Just to be clear, there’s no development agreement signed for the UK. It’s a belief that we have and that we’ll be going after and that’s where we’re going to make our investment.”