Around 500 jobs are to be created across the island of Ireland by coffee and sandwich chain Pret A Manger.

The company is to open up to 20 shops within the next decade, as part of its entrance into the Irish market.

The outlets in the Republic and Northern Ireland will be rolled out by Carebrook Partnership Limited under a franchise arrangement.

The first shop is set to open on Dawson Street in Dublin this summer, creating 25 jobs.

"Setting up shop in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland has been our plan for a long time, and we're thrilled that we’re finally able to make it happen," said Pano Christou, Chief Executive Officer at Pret A Manger.

"There has long been demand from our neighbours on the island of Ireland to bring Pret’s freshly prepared food and organic coffee, and now with the backing of Carebrook Partnership Ltd we’re able to do so."

"We look forward to making this partnership a success."

Carebrook Partnership Ltd has worked with Pret for three decades and runs many of its stores in London where it is a common sight on city centre streets.

Carebrook is majority owned by UK and US food sector veteran, Gerard Loughran, who grew up in Nenagh, Co Tipperary.

Ray McNamara from Dublin, who has 25 years’ experience in the Irish food industry and owns Ann’s Bakery is also a minority shareholder.

"We've been working with Pret for over three decades, ever since they arrived in London," said Gerard Loughran, CEO, Carebrook Partnership Ltd.

"Having grown up in Tipperary, and with more than two decades of experience in the hospitality and food industry, I’ve always wanted to bring Pret to Ireland and Northern Ireland, so I’m delighted that this will soon become a reality alongside my co-owner Ray, who has great connections and links to the food sector in Dublin with 25 years’ experience."

"We look forward to welcoming our new customers, soon."

Last year Pret announced that it would aim to double the size of the business within five years, including launching into five new markets by the end of 2023.

Pret is owned by investment group JAB and founder Sinclair Beecham.

It currently has shops in the United Kingdom, United States, Hong Kong, France, Dubai, Switzerland, Brussels, Singapore and Germany.