A pizza chain's newest promotion has sparked a debate online, with some calling the deal racist.
» Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts» Like Us On Facebook» Follow Us On Twitter
On June 5, any customer who orders in Spanish at Pizza Patron will receive a free large pepperoni pizza. At the Escondido store, a sign on the window advertising the promotion says a customer just has to say "pizza por favor" for the free pizza.
10News spoke to numerous local residents, and many did not have a problem with the promotion.
"If it's going to help them promote their business
go ahead and do it," said longtime Escondido resident Crystal Chatton.
Chatton said the local store often helps with the nearby schools by giving them deals for their events.
But the deal has been a hot topic online, with many blasting the Texas-based chain for this latest marketing campaign.
On Pizza Patron's Facebook page, one woman wrote: "This is the U.S.A., not Mexico."
Another comment from Mike in Chicago said "You lost my business."
"Pizza Patron is geared toward serving the Hispanic community," said Andrew Gamm, brand director for Pizza Patron. Gamm responded to accusations that the promotion was racist.
"It's absolutely untrue. You don't even have to speak Spanish to take advantage of the promotion," Gamm said. "If you show up at the store at event day, our staff will help you and it's as simple as saying 'pizza por favor.'"
Mickey Barnes, who works near the Escondido Pizza Patron location, said the complaints are ridiculous.
"I don't think there's anything wrong with it," Barnes said. "The owner's not Hispanic. He's white. I don't see the problem with it. He's just trying to promote his business."
The chain gained notoriety in 2007 when they accepted pesos as a form of payment.
The Escondido store still accepts the Mexican currency, although an employee said they only take the bills not coins.
Despite the controversy, the promotion will go on as planned on June 5 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., while supplies last.
10News learned Pizza Patron plans to open two more San Diego-area locations in the future.
Copyright Do you have more information about this story? Click here to contact usCopyright 2012 by 10News.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.