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Chain Announces 'Pizza for Pesos' Program to Become Permanent

A pizza chain that attracted national attention and plenty of hate mail for its decision to temporarily accept Mexican currency said Monday it is making the pesos policy permanent.

Dallas-based Pizza Patron announced in December that it would accept pesos as well as U.S. currency at its 60 locations across the U.S. The "Pizza por Pesos" program -- which brought death threats and hate mail to the company -- was set to run through the end of February but will now continue indefinitely.

"What the pesos for pizza program is intended to do is reinforce our brand promise -- as the premier U.S. Latino brand and focus on serving the Latino community like we have done for 20 years," Pizza Patron founder and chief executive Antonio Swad said in a statement. "We have carved this niche in the pizza industry to compete and serve an underserved market -- the Latino customer, not to make any political statement."

Pizza Patron has said 60 percent of its customers are Latino, proclaiming on its Web site that "to serve the Hispanic community is our passion." Its restaurants are in mostly Hispanic neighborhoods, and each manager must be bilingual and live nearby.

Most of Pizza Patron's locations are carryout only. The take-home menus are in both English and Spanish.