Las Vegas Sun

October 30, 2014

Currently: 72° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Las Vegas Sol:

Free pizza? Por favor!

Pizza chain offers free pies with order in Spanish

Image

AP

Ordering pizza en Español

    If you are still bashful about using your Español in public, below is some helpful vocabulary.

  • Me gustaría = I would like

  • Una pizza = A pizza

  • Pepperoni = Pepperoni

  • Gracias = Thank you

  • Por favor = Please

  • Cómo estás? = How are you?

  • Bien = Well

  • Tengo hambre = I'm hungry

  • Delicioso = Delicious

If Rosetta Stone is not helping you distinguish "que" from "quien," maybe a passion for pepperoni will do the trick.

The Texas-based chain Pizza Patron, which has traditionally marketed to Hispanics, is offering a free, large pepperoni pizza to anyone who orders in Spanish between 5 and 8 p.m. on June 5.

As USA Today reported earlier this week, the campaign has drawn critics from all sides.

"Maybe they thought it was a cute thing to do, but I think it's discrimination," Marcela Gomez, president of Hispanic Marketing Group, a Latino marketing firm in Nashville, told USA Today. "As an advertising agency, I would never recommend this to my client."

Meanwhile advocates for English as the official language of the United States also took issue with the company's approach.

"It seems to punish people who can't speak Spanish, and I resent that," Peter Thomas, chairman of the Conservative Caucus, told USA Today. "In public areas, people should be speaking English, and that includes pizza parlors."

Pizza Patron regularly targets Hispanics with its promotions, and in 2007 the chain started accepting pesos, a move that also drew criticism.

Eduardo Gonzalez, an owner of Pizza Patron stores in Las Vegas, said the company was simply trying to thank its customers for supporting the chain and to have some fun. He said everyone was welcome to come in for the deal, and only a basic "una pizza, por favor" is needed. In fact, Pizza Patron is only giving away one type of pizza, a large pepperoni, so the ordering should be uncomplicated.

"Basically we just want to thank everybody," Gonzalez said. "We understand that many people are having a rough time with the economy in Las Vegas. All you have to do is speak a little Spanish and you get a free pizza. When people go to a Mexican restaurant and they ask for a 'carne asada burrito,' that's Spanish. When you got to Starbucks and ask for a 'venti,' you are ordering in another language."

Despite the timing, Gonzalez said the promotion had nothing to do with the presidential election or the issue of immigration reform.

"We've gotten a lot of mixed reactions, and some say it's a great idea," Gonzalez said. "We're not doing it to create any controversy in regards to immigration. ... We believe very strongly in being part of the community. We welcome everybody. In the U.S., English is the number one language, and we don't want to overstep our boundaries."

USA Today also ran a poll with its story asking for readers' opinions on the issue. As of Thursday there were more than 4,000 votes and a combined 65 percent said they liked the marketing or did not care about the issue while the remainder said they did not approve of the promotion.

Gonzalez said he expected long lines at the stores June 5, and Pizza Patron stores will be handing out coupons for both discounted specialty pizzas and for free large pizzas, so people who do no have the time to wait can get their free pie at a later date. (No need to speak Spanish to get the coupon.)

Pizza Patron is headquartered in Dallas and boasts 102 locations in seven states.

There are five Pizza Patrons in Las Vegas: 2885 E. Charleston Blvd. Suite 102, 3510 Bonanza Road, 1979 N. Nellis Blvd, 2305 E. Sahara Ave, 721 N. Rancho Drive.

More information on the pizza promotion and the local stores can be found at pizzapatron.com.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 3 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. It is so sad that some people got so disturbed over this nice offer from the company offering a bit of fun to the customers.

    It doesn't take long to Google a translation for an order, but the company made it easier for those who couldn't think of that.

    This Texas company probably didn't think anything about the language issue since it is such an integrated state with lots of Anglos able to speak at least some Spanish, and vice versa.

    I learned Spanish in Texas because I had so many people to converse with. That is a big advantage for learning a second language. Took me 6 months and I was speaking and understanding without translating in my mind first. It was great. Just needed a dictionary, a TV with novellas, and practicing with Spanish speaking co-workers.

    One reason I did that was because I was tired of being a one language dummy in a world of not just bilingual, but multilingual people.

    We are at such a disadvantage in the U.S. being so isolated from the richness of other cultures and languages. We would understand others better and be more able to appreciate the whole community of humanity if we were multilingual.

    I think it would be great for companies of other cultures and languages to do the same, if only Americans could not feel so embarrassed or threatened they enjoy the challenge, and get a freebie in return for the customers effort and openness.

  2. I agree with olbuddy, Pizza Patron has two strikes against them now, they're bigots against English speakers and they're based in a state living in the past.

  3. Interesting lack of understanding of history mingled in here.

    Regardless of the official language of the U.S., ethnic enclaves occurred with each wave of immigrants from Europe, and their language was intact until they moved from urban to suburban living situations, as they could afford to do that.

    It was hastened even more with the disappearance of extended families living together. In so doing, their native language gradually faded, along with the generations that had immigrated.

    As an example, the Asians from a variety of countries, Irish, Germans, Italians, Poles, Jews from various places all fit in that category, along with others. Notice they all arrived from a different continent.

    This isn't something from the past only. Even in States like California, there are ethnic enclaves, because people feel more comfortable where they are accepted. While others want nothing to do with the "foreigners".

    It isn't just one culture that feels that. It seems to rotate between cultures. Ethnic enclaves replace others. There is always someone to resent.

    It isn't limited to "foreigners", there are "citizen immigrants" between States who they often bring their own prejudices with them.

    Spanish speakers are a part of this continent, and more able to maintain contact with their families in other locations through their common language.

    What isn't understood by many is that there are millions of Hispanics who are bilingual, who live assimilated lives with the descents of European cultures. I don't blame them for wanting to speak their language. It is more beautiful and richer than English, conveying a deeper sense of feeling in the words.

    The farther removed from the original cultures people are, the less they maintain the unique richness of that culture.

    Then, there are the slaves that were imported to labor for the white citizen immigrants from Europe. How many languages were they forced to abandon?

    Many of the Spanish speaking immigrants that people resent so much are the modern day slaves. They work very hard for very little, and we enjoy cheaper foods and goods as a result. The companies that employ them make higher profits as well.

    Let's not forget the Native American's whom Europeans invaded, killed and robbed. If they hadn't been so naive, perhaps we would all be speaking one or more of their approximately 150 languages. We forced as many as possible to assimilate into the language of the conquerors, removing children from their families and forcing them into draconian schools.

    We have alot to learn before we can be a truly united people in the U.S. Union doesn't mean we are all the same, it means we appreciate and respect all the various cultures that we come from. It means we have patience, tolerance, and good hearts that bring people together, rather than separate because of differences.

    I think resenting the language used to order a free pizza is simply crazy.