Richard Montanez, the man who created Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, is the Vice President of Multicultural Sales & Community Promotions at PepsiCo North America. Montanez’s ability to develop new products and systems sets him apart from his peers.
Net Worth, Age, Profession, Career, Biography
|Full Name||Richard Montañez|
|Profession||Author, Businessman, Speaker|
|Age||63 years old|
|Net Worth||$10 million|
As well as being recognized by Fortune and Newsweek as a leader in the Hispanic community, he also had a profound influence on a generation of American Hispanics.
Although Richard did not complete high school or college, he now teaches leadership to MBA students at a university in California.
Early and Personal Life of Richard Montanez
He was raised by his ten siblings in California and was born to Mexican immigrants. A single-bedroom apartment housed his entire family. This line describes the kind of background and the values he came from.
It helps explain how his life has been shaped by the trials he faced.
As a child, he was interested in entrepreneurship. His mom used to pack him burritos for lunch when he was in 3rd grade, but he was embarrassed to eat them because burritos weren’t very popular back then.
He was then given two burritos by his mom, so he could keep one for himself and give one to a friend. When he was only 7, he began selling these burritos for $0.25 each.
He has been married to his wife Judy for more than 37 years. They have three sons together and five grandchildren and live in Rancho Cucamonga.
Biography of Richard Montanez
His parents were both Mexican, and he grew up in Guasti, an unincorporated community near Ontario, California. His one-bedroom apartment housed him and his 10 siblings.
Richard, who is a native Spanish speaker and lacked any language resources, found it challenging to understand his teachers. Lowrider magazine quoted him as saying:
When I was getting ready for school, my mom was crying. English was not my first language.”
According to him:
I remember getting on the green bus and thinking, ‘Why can’t we get on the yellow bus?’ “The bus meant something to everyone in town. I was again categorized differently by society.”
He was shaped by those experiences.
Richard dropped out of high school after struggling with basic writing and reading. He went on to work several low-paid jobs, including farming and slaughtering chickens.
The California Frito-Lay plant posted a janitor job opening in 1976, which he learned from a friend. Richard’s grandfather gave him a piece of advice when he landed the job:
Ensure the floor is shining. Ensure that they know a Montanez mops it.
His impact was immediate. A few days later, he remembered:
The room always smelled fresh when someone walked in. When you believe you’re going to be the best, there’s no such thing as ‘just a janitor.'”
Besides his janitorial duties, Richard also watched the machines in action to improve his knowledge of the business.
Career of Richard
As a teenager, he dropped out of school and began working as a laborer. As an odd job, he slaughtered chickens, washed cars, and grew vegetables.
As an 18-year-old, he applied for a job with Frito Lay after one of his friends told him they were hiring. His girlfriend wrote the application on his behalf since he could hardly read or write.
He was hired as a janitor and started working. In his memoir, he mentions how he worked tirelessly to be the best janitor he could be. Upon pitching his idea, he was able to go from rags to riches by offering sauces and chips that were specifically aimed at Latinos.
Over the years, the product that would be called Flamin’ Hot Cheetos has raked in billions of dollars in revenue. Pepsi appointed Richard to the position of vice president of multicultural sales and community promotions.
In addition to writing two books titled A Boy, a Burrito, and a Cookie: From Janitor to Executive and Flamin’ Hot: The Incredible True Story of One Man’s Rise to Top Executive, he has also written two short stories.
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Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
After a Cheetos machine stopped working, Montanez found a batch of unflavored snacks and seasoned them with spices that reminded him of Mexican street corn.
Then-CEO Roger Enrico was convinced by his pitch and invited to come to his office to give an in-person presentation.
As part of his preparation, he researched marketing at the library. As a result, he provided samples of the product in hand-decorated bags that he had sealed with his own handwriting. Six months after the soft launch, a Los Angeles test market was approved, and the product became available nationally in 1992.
In 2013 Newsweek reported that the flavor, which has since expanded into a full-line, “rejuvenated the brand.”.
According to a Los Angeles Times article from 2021, an internal investigation at Frito-Lay determined Montanez did not create this product line.
It appears Flamin’ Hot existed more than a decade before Montanez claims to have pitched it, which means the idea was developed after he had now become a manager.
Montanez may have pitched some of the successful products within the Flamin’ Hot series, such as Flamin’ Hot popcorn, according to the article.
Richard Montanez Net Worth
A roughly $10 million fortune has been estimated for Richard Montanez by 2021. Richard earned an income with stock options at Frito Lay before retiring in 2019. His net worth has largely come from this source. These days, he charges from $10,000 to $50,000 for every appearance he gives as a motivational speaker for organizations.