Kristi Arellano from The Denver Post reports on June 9, 2004:
Antonio Swad hit on the Pizza Patron concept in 1986 when he opened his first pizza store in a heavily Hispanic neighborhood in Dallas. He struggled to communicate with his Spanish-speaking customers and realized that he could tap into a huge market if he could reach out to those customers.
The company [now] operates 16 stores and has announced development agreements for 94 more in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado.
"Our pizza is no different than what you would find at Domino's or Papa John's," said Pizza Patron spokesman Andy Gamm, although some stores offer toppings like chorizo.
Pizza Patron is relying largely on language and cultural familiarity to set it apart from other pizza chains. The stores are staffed by bilingual employees, and store managers are required to live in the neighborhoods they serve.
The company doesn't do much advertising and instead relies on word of mouth among its customers.
The company announced in April that it had signed a deal with Randy Schmidt to open four stores in metro Denver. "This is an untapped market," Schmidt said. "Granted, there are pizza places all over the place, but this is something that Hispanic people can identify with..." When Schmidt opens his first restaurants this summer, the brightly colored stores will be staffed with Spanish-speaking workers. Contemporary Latino music will play from the speakers, and menus will be printed in Spanish and English.
"One of the nice things about pizza is its broad market appeal," Gamm said.
"People who aren't comfortable with English will feel safer calling because they know they will get someone who speaks Spanish," said Janina Calderon-Ferguson, president of Calderon Hispanic Marketing in Denver.
She said immigrant parents who don't speak English often rely on their children to place their meal orders on the phone or in person. The comfort level created by having Spanish-speaking staffers could rapidly build brand loyalty, she said.
I believe that by a combination of catering to the "Hispanic Culture" and a small twist of ethnic flavors, even more than with the language, Pizza Patron will keep on hitting home runs accross the nation's Latino communities. Even English-speaking Hispanics will appreciate a good pizza along with the warmness of the Hispanic culture surrounding them. This is vital: Pizza Patron is betting on their food, relying primarily on word of mouth to grow its business. That alone shows me that they have what it takes to succeed.
Basically, they are giving people what they want and making them feel good and comfortable in a familiar environment. New immigrants most likely have eaten at Pizza Hot or Domino’s back in their home countries, comfortably ordering in Spanish. So any pizza chain could have done this... but they DIDN'T. So Pizza Patron has claimed this "mountain" their own.
Kudos Pizza Patron!
Read the entire article at HispanicBusiness.com