DENVER — We first heard about Pizza Patron five years ago, when the restaurant chain received death threats and hate mail for accepting Mexican pesos.
Now, Pizza Patron is feeling the heat again, but this time it is for a free pizza promotion.
On June 5, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., if you order a pepperoni pizza, it’s free.
But there is one catch, and it is causing some people indigestion. Normally, a large pepperoni pizza will set you back $4.99, but on June 5 it will be free—on one condition.
“If they come and order in Spanish, ‘Pizza por favor’ or ‘Quiero pizza’ we’re giving it away free,” says Pizza Patron Franchisee Randy Schmidt.
He says it’s the restaurant’s way to connect with its core customer, which is 60-percent Hispanic.
But the pizza promotion really eats at some people.
“That’s kinda not fair. This is America. Like we should have the same perks as they do if they’re going to be here too,” says Denver resident Stefanie Eden.
“It bothers me that they don’t learn English. That’s what bothers me. They expect that we know Spanish, but they won’t learn English,” says Joshua Erickson of Denver.
Some say it punishes people who don’t speak Spanish.
“It’s a good marketing tactic,” says an Hispanic marketing consultant. Janina Ferguson of Calderon Advertising and Public Relations says the promotion tells Pizza Patron’s target customer, “Hey, we understand your challenges. We speak your language. If they can order and feel comfortable ordering pizza in their own language, they’re going to call back again.”
You can take advantage of the free pizza, even if you don’t speak Spanish. “You have to say, ‘Pizza for favor,’ I tell Pizza Patron customer Mary Brown. “I can handle that,” she laughs. Or say some variation of it.
“I will say, ‘Por favor pizza,’” says customer Desmond Sims. Anyway you slice it, free is certainly delicious. “If I want free pizza. Yes, I will be practicing,” says Sims.
Again, the three magic words are “Pizza Por Favor.”
There are two Pizza Patron’s in metro Denver: one is located at 15270 E. 6th Ave. in Aurora and the other is at 225 S. Sheridan Blvd. in Lakewood.