A national pizza chain with two stores in the Denver area is giving away 80,000 pizzas on June 5 to customers who order in Spanish.
Dallas-based Pizza Patron, with 104 stores in the U.S., including a store in southwest Denver, is catching heat over the promotion.
"It seems to punish people who can't speak Spanish, and I resent that," Peter Thomas, chairman of the Conservative Caucus, said. "In public areas, people should be speaking English, and that includes pizza parlors."
Even some in the Latino community have criticized the promotion.
"Maybe they thought it was a cute thing to do, but I think it's discrimination," said Marcela Gomez, president of Hispanic Marketing Group in Nashville.
The company's brand director said that 70 percent of Pizza Patron customers are Spanish-speaking and they are trying to reach their target market.
"If you dont speak Spanish, come on in. Well give you the phrase and make sure everyone that shows up walks away with a pizza," said Andrew Gamm, the brand director for Pizza Patron.
A press release from Pizza Patron said the promotion is "a way to honor the positive force of change immigrants have made in communities throughout America."
In 2007 the same pizza chain announced it would accept Mexican Pesos for payment.
Copyright Report a typo or inaccuracyIf you have a news tip or a follow-up to this story, e-mail us.Copyright 2012 by TheDenverChannel.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.