Canadian coffee and doughnuts franchise chain Tim Hortons, which operates 290 self-service kiosks in convenience stores in the UK and Ireland, is set to expand its international operation with fast-growing China and India seen as potential targets.

The company currently has 2,800 stores in Canada and over 500 sites in the US, but in a four-year strategic plan, unveiled earlier this month, it revealed that it was looking to take the brand to a worldwide audience.

“Outside the Republic of Ireland and UK, the world is wide open,” said Scott Toop, executive vice- president and general counsel, adding Tim Hortons had received nearly 1,500 unsolicited international enquiries about franchises in 2009 alone.

Although no firm decision has been made on which countries to target, the company plans to launch in three to five initial entry markets during the next four years.

Research highlighted in the strategic plan showed that the fast food markets in China and India were expected to grow by 9% and 4.5% respectively, between 2010 and 2013. In comparison, the UK was set to grow by just 2%. The fast food market in China was expected to reach $54.5bn by 2013, up from $33.1bn in 2008, said the company.

As well as coffee and doughnuts, Tim Hortons’ stores sell sandwiches, soups and a full range of sweet bakery goods.