“Pizzas de Cuaresma”: Texas chain offers special pizzas for Lent

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s post about Wendy’s suddenly ubiquitous fish sandwich comes this story about a Dallas pizza chain offering vegetarian pizzas as a way to battle what has become an annual Lenten slump in sales:

The folks at Pizzeria Patron have nothing against Catholicism, really, but every year, starting after Ash Wednesday and continuing till Easter, sales across the chain have traditionally dipped 4 percent as people give up meat for Lent.

Enter its “Pizzas de Cuaresma” campaign, which promotes the Spinach Clasico pizza (spinach with a cheese cream sauce) and La Vegetariana (a veggie number crowned with onions, bell peppers, mushrooms and olives). Both Pizzas are available for $6.99 and come with a side of absolution. That’s 89.80 pesos at today’s exchange rates.

The company’s press release has more:

Lent, or “Cuaresma” in Spanish, refers to the season of the forty days and is the Christian observance involving fasting and abstinence for the 40-day period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Today, most Catholics observe Lent, as well as members of many other Christian denominations.

“The majority of our guests are Hispanic and prefer to speak Spanish in our restaurants, and a significant number of those are Catholic,” said Andrew Gamm, brand director for Pizza Patron. “Cuaresma is an important time of year for our brand because it gives us the opportunity to demonstrate what makes Pizza Patron different from other pizza chains and it allows us to stay close to the heart of our heavily Catholic customer base.”

According to the 2009 National Survey of Latinos by the Pew Hispanic Center, a majority (60%) of Hispanics identify themselves as Catholic and two-thirds (67%) of Spanish-dominant young Latinos say they are Catholic.

UPDATE: A reader alerted me to yet another canny bit of Lenten marketing, from Cincinnati’s famous Skyline Chili:

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