Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc., which has detailed international expansion efforts over the past year, is turning its attention to the United States with the announcement it will open eight shops in downtown Chicago and throughout Cook County, Ill., over the next few years.

The Winston-Salem-based company on June 23 signed a development agreement with Chicagoland Restaurants, L.L.C. to open the shops.

“There’s a high demand for Krispy Kreme in the greater Chicagoland area,” said Patricia Perry, vice-president of U.S. franchise development at Krispy Kreme. “We are excited to be able to partner with Chicagoland Restaurants, an experienced and passionate group that will do an outstanding job of bringing the joy of Krispy Kreme to people throughout the area.”