Greggs expects to create around 500 new jobs in the coming months as profits bounced back to outstrip pre-pandemic levels.
The high street bakery chain, which had 2,115 shops at the start of July, plans 100 net openings this year.
Striking an ambitious tone, Greggs said it had the opportunity to grow to at least 3,000 stores.
It came as the business revealed a pre-tax profit of £55.5m for the 26 weeks to 3 July, compared with a £65.2m loss for the same period last year.
It is also up on the 2019 first-half figure of £40.7m.
Greggs chief executive Roger Whiteside said: “Greggs once again showed its resilience in a challenging first half, emerging from the lockdown months in a strong position and rebuilding sales as social restrictions were progressively relaxed.
“We continue to make good progress with our strategic priorities, growing the shop estate and investing in our digital capabilities to compete in all channels and parts of our market.
“Whilst there continue to be general uncertainties in the market, given our recent performance we now expect full-year profit to be slightly ahead of our previous expectation.”