According to the company, the promotion is being done to honour the Hispanic community. But critics say it is just one more example of an attempt to make Spanish an official language of the United States.
In a media release, Pizza Patron announced that the event will be held on June 5. Anyone who walks into a company's restaurant between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and places an order in Spanish, will receive a large pepperoni pizza absolutely free.
As stated in release, the promotion, known as "PIZZA POR FAVOR," is the first of three planned events during 2012 "to celebrate the brand's Hispanic focus and honor the positive force of change immigrants have made throughout America."
Pizza Patron, with headquarters in Dallas, has 104 restaurants in seven states. Currently more than 80 other outlets are under development.
According to Fox News, Andrew Gamm, the brand director for Pizza Patron, the company estimates they will give away 80,000 pizzas during the three hour time period. But not everyone is pleased with the promotion.
Some of the criticism comes from Hispanics. Marcela Gomez, president of Hispanic Marketing Group, was quoted in USA Today as saying, Maybe they thought it was a cute thing to do, but I think it's discrimination. I would not recommend this to my client.
Gamm countered this by saying that 70% of the company's customers are Hispanic. He said, It makes perfect sense for us. We're trying to make our bond with the Hispanic community stronger.
One of the beliefs of the Conservative Caucus, a grassroots organization founded in 1974, is that English should be the only working language in the United States. One of its founders and current chairman, Peter Thomas, told USA Today, I resent that. In public areas, people should be speaking English, and that includes pizza parlors.
This is not the first time Pizza Patron has introduced a controversial promotion. In early 2007, the company decided to accept pesos as well as American money for the sale of their products. As reported by ABC News, only about five per cent of their customers paid with the Mexican currency. But the promotion generated a lot of feedback.
Although the phone calls, letters, and emails were mixed, the company got hate mail and even some death threats. They were told that this is America, not Mexico, and told to go to Mexico if they like pesos so much.
The founder of the company, Antonio Swad, was quoted as saying, Yeah, it was exactly the right thing for our customers. It was a way for us to reach out and do a better job of serving our customer than maybe some of our competitors do.
The company judged the "pesos for pizza" a success and believe the "PIZZA POR FAVOR" campaign will bring in new customers.
To get the free pizza, all the customer has to say is "PIZZA POR FAVOR."