Pizza Patrón, the Dallas-based pizza chain made famous for accepting pesos, is once again the subject of national criticism for a Latino-focused campaign. On June 5th, between 5 and 8 p.m., Pizza Patrón will give away a free, large pepperoni pizza to anyone who orders in Spanish.
Linguistic proficiency won’t be a factor. Broken or fluent, customers will a normally $4.99 pizza for saying “Pizza, por favour.”
Surprisingly, the kitschy campaign—aimed to “strengthen the relationship we have with our core customer”—has been met with vitriol.
“Maybe they thought it was a cute thing to do, but I think it’s discrimination,” Marcela Gomez, president of Hispanic Marketing Group, told USA Today.
Peter Thomas, chairman of the Conservative Caucus, also expressed his concern to USA Today: “It seems to punish people who can’t speak Spanish, and I resent that.”
Pizza Patrón is viewing this as another buzz campaign that can bring itself closer to its Hispanic customers.
In a press release the company boast itself as “the nation’s premier Latino pizza brand.” A quick scan of the English version of the companies homepage reveals 25% of the text in Spanish.
In addition to “pizza” the company will accept the pronunciation of “picza” (peek-za), a phrasing the nearly half of Pizza Patrón employees use according to the company.
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