A PIZZA chain is biting back against industry giants as its ‘rapid expansion’ plans cover all bases in Oxfordshire.

Caprinos Pizza - which opened in Headington this month - started from humble beginnings at a small store in Didcot in 2014.

Now, the dough-filled fast food service boasts nine shops in the county and beyond - with five more units in its sights.

Caprinos Pizza co-director Khalil Rehman, from Bicester, said it was their love of pizza that spurred him and business partner Gul Mawaz on to start the business.

Mr Rehman, who had a background working in KFC and Welcome Break, said: “I always wanted to start my own business and pizza was at the front of my mind from day one. Working in the different areas of the food industry before gave us both that exposure and opportunity to take it forward.

“Our mission for why we wanted to was to build a British pizza brand as many of the others are often American or elsewhere.

“We didn’t plan to expand so fast when we started in Didcot and it was so small - but we did much better than forecasted.”

The brand opened its first shop in the Broadway four years ago, and recently expanded the shop to be almost double the size.

Within a year the business-minded pair had opened another shop in Aylesbury and thought as it was going so well why not continue building the empire.

Chains that followed are Headington and Cowley Road in Oxford, Faringdon, Banbury, Andover, Stoke and Newbury.

Mr Rehman said: “It has been just a couple of weeks since opening in Headington and it has been very good. We recognised they didn’t have any other pizza places around there and lots of nearby neighbours wanted a place to open that was nearer than Cowley Road.

“We have actually had a better response that we expected, as we have the branch in Cowley Road, but there are still a lot of people in Headington that want our pizza.”

The 31-year-old puts the success down to a winning recipe of great customer service, good quality pizza at reasonable prices, as well as a strong following.

He said: “I remember opening in Faringdon last August and it was very busy - we opened 5pm and by 7pm we had run out of everything.

“A lot of those customers had experience of us in Oxford, as Faringdon is a small town and many people work in Oxford and would be lunch time customers. It was those customers or their family who came along as they had heard of us.

“Even now in Headington every day customers come in who have known us from Didcot and are happy to see us doing well.

“We have a good relationship with customers and a close connection.”

The pair said in the next six months they hope to open in Witney, Swindon, Fleet, Milton Keynes and Crewe.

Sights are also set on Bicester and Abingdon.