30 years ago, Pizza Patrón got its start as an independent restaurant centered around one flagship product: pizza. The chain’s roots can be traced back to Antonio Swad, a native of Columbus, Ohio and restaurant manager who dreamed of one day owning his own restaurant. In 1986, Antonio packed up everything he owned, moved to Dallas, and opened his pizza shop in the heavily Hispanic area known as Pleasant Grove.
Here are five things most people don’t know about the brand:
1. Pizza Patrón originally opened under the name ‘Pizza Pizza’ in 1986
Antonio started his business with the name ‘Pizza Pizza’ simply so customers would have no doubt what was sold there. Soon after opening, he was compelled to change the name because of another brand’s pre-existing trademark.
2. The founder worked behind the counter for the first seven years without a day off
Like many true entrepreneurs, failure was not an option for Antonio. He had a dream, invested his life savings, and he was going to see it succeed no matter what it took. This laser-like focus also fueled Antonio to create another successful brand in 1994, the nation’s number one wing chain – Wingstop.
3. Frank Sinatra was part of the inspiration behind the logo
Andrew Gamm, executive vice president of Pizza Patrón, was the artist who created the iconic logo for the brand. His goal was to create a kind of Latin James Bond that ‘men wanted to be’ and ‘women wanted to be with.’ It has been rumored that the image was based on Mexican actor Andrés García’s likeness. However, Gamm used Frank Sinatra’s ‘cool’ persona as an inspiration for what ultimately emerged as the Patrón logo.
4. Boxing legend Julio César Chávez sported the Pizza Patrón logo on his shorts during his farewell fight
In 2005, during his farewell fight with Ivan Robinson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Chávez wore the Pizza Patrón logo on his shorts. He is considered by many to be the greatest Mexican fighter of all time and one of the best boxers of all time.
5. The Pizza por Pesos idea came from an outsider
Jeff Sinelli, friend and fellow restaurateur, suggested that Pizza Patrón accept pesos at its locations in December of 2006. In January of 2007, the company implemented the concept and received massive international news coverage as a result. Today, it is company policy to accept Mexican pesos in bill format at all of its locations.
Since 1986, Pizza Patrón has been committed to making its promise of “Más Pizza. Menos Dinero.” a reality for every customer. From the beginning, the brand has been recognized for its ‘fresh-dough’ pizza, its low prices and its trademark “friendly, bicultural service.” In 2007, the company drew international media attention with its PIZZA POR PESOS program when it began accepting Mexican Pesos at all of its restaurants. In 2012, the company’s PIZZA POR FAVOR promotion that gave free pizzas to anyone who ordered in Spanish sparked international news coverage and lively debate throughout the U.S. Today, Pizza Patrón is the leading Mexican pizza brand in the U.S. and remains dedicated to bringing its unique experience to life with every pizza made, and in every community it serves.