US fastfood giant Burger King has revealed plans to add 35 restaurants to its British chain during 2002, a move that will lead to the creation of 1,250 new full- and part-time jobs and bring its total number of outlets in the country to 720.

The company added that over the course of the next five years, plans are in place to open a total of 300 new restaurants and generate around 11,000 new jobs.

The ambitious expansion plans have surprised some market watchers, who have witnessed a difficult period for the chain. As the global economy slowed and BSE spread, the burger retailer#;s profits plummeted. In June, the firm recorded a 12% drop in annual operating profit to £177m (US$255m).

Burger King#;s parent company, UK drinks giant Diageo PLC, has said that it intends to spin off the chain, but that this cannot be done until performance has improved.