Sandwich bar and coffee chain O’Briens plans to open a further 15 franchise units by the end of this year, with a focus on north- east England and the Midlands.

Franchise director Paul Stanton said that major cities such as Newcastle still had "massive potential" for further expansion. The move will bring O’Brien’s total number of outlets in the UK to 155.

The chain operates various styles of franchise, including high street and shopping centre outlets, express-style bars and kiosks within businesses. Stanton said customers were becoming more interested in healthier choices such as low-fat and organic products.

O’Briens has also noticed customers are more choosy about ingredients and relishes.