Monday, January 08, 2007

US Pizza Chain Will Accept Mexican Pesos

People can now spend their hard-earned pesos -- yes, pesos -- at an American restaurant. A Dallas-based restaurant chain has started accepting Mexican currency, pesos, as payment, according to reporters. The Pizza Patrón chain caters heavily to Hispanics.The paper reported that restaurant experts and economists believe this is the first food chain with locations so far from the Mexican border that offers the service. "We're trying to reach out to our core customer," Antonio Swad, president of Pizza Patrón Inc., told reporters.He said that people return from Mexico with leftover pesos, and the chain wants to be a convenient place for them to spend the pesos. Restaurants around the United States have done more marketing to Hispanic customers, but usually that is in advertising and menu updates. "I think it's a very interesting idea," said Ron Paul, president of Technomic Inc., a Chicago-based restaurant market research firm. "They are catering to that audience." Pizza Patrón's director of brand development, Andrew Gamm, said the company successfully tested the idea in a Mesquite, Texas, store recently. He told the paper that customers spent "a couple hundred pesos," without any advertisement of the service. Starting in February, the chain's 59 stores will take peso bills only, not coins. Cashiers will use cards listing conversion calculations, enter the figure in U.S. dollars into the cash register and give the customers change in U.S. currency. According to the paper, about 60 percent of Pizza Patrón customers and 45 percent of the franchisees are Hispanic.