The Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Story: How An Uneducated Janitor’s Brilliant Snack Idea Made Him Millions

The Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Story: How An Uneducated Janitor’s Brilliant Snack Idea Made Him Millions
News
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

The man responsible for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is a former janitor whose life changed forever when he began to share his own spicy seasoning with a few friends and co-workers.

The Kansas City Star reports that back in 1976, Richard Montañez was a janitor in the Frito-Lay plant in Rancho Cucamonga, California, who had created a unique spice that he often topped the plant’s Cheetos with.

He eventually shared the recipe with his family and friends, all of whom were convinced Richard had invented something special. They urged him to pitch the spice to the plant’s CEO and amazingly, the boss listened and invited him to make a demonstration.

Montañez and his wife sped to the public library to check out a book on marketing. Montañez packaged his red-topped Cheetos in sample bags, bought the first tie he had ever owned, and prepared for his greatest chance to leave menial labor behind forever.

Fast forward to 2013 and Montanez is the executive vice president of multicultural sales and community activation for PepsiCo North America, a position Richard rose to after Frito-Lay mentored and promoted him so he could learn to effectively market his own invention.

According to the Star, Montanez gave a speech at a Kansas City Westin on Tuesday about how his “Ph.D” – poor, hungry, and determined – propelled a man without a college degree or high school diploma to immense success.

Montañez has met several U.S. presidents, spoken at the United Nations and currently teaches leadership to MBA students at a California university.

Montañez was the keynote speaker at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s annual Power of Diversity event. This year, three Kansas City-based companies, Ecco Select, Swope Community Enterprises and Sprint Corp., were hailed as “champions of diversity.”

This is yet another appropriate title for Montañez, who has helped KFC and Taco Bell more effectively promote their Hispanic products and reach Hispanic audiences.

“If you’re leading a company and you don’t have diversity, you don’t have inclusion. I don’t know how you’re going to survive,” Montañez told about 300 people at the event. “I don’t know how you got this far.”

Montanez’s speech not only discussed how he went from mopping floors to riding corporate jets, but also how those who feel discouraged due to their race and economic situation can do the same.

“My disqualifications are the very things that qualified me,” he said, addressing the confidence and willpower of young minorities.

“Your own people will hold you back,” he warned them. “Break ranks. That’s diversity and inclusion. Don’t just hang out with your own.”

Montañez recalled being made fun of as a kid for eating burritos when everyone else ate regular sandwiches. When he asked his mother to make him a bologna sandwich so he could fit in, she said “no, this is who you are” and instead made him a second burrito to share with curious classmates.

By the end of that week, the Star reports, Montañez was selling burritos for 25 cents.

“Maybe I wasn’t created to fit in. Maybe I was created to stand out,” Montañez said. My greatness is courage. I’m willing to take a chance.”

His main message was that “there’s no such thing as ‘just a janitor’ if you ‘act like an owner.’”

Diversity and inclusion programs can open doors, he said, but “if you have confidence, you can walk into any room. … Your job is to prepare yourself to walk through the doors.”

Via: Kansas City Star, Top Photo Courtesy: Survivorlist Boards

Share Tweet
React
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

Sean Levinson

Sean Levinson loves writing almost as much as he loves ranting about politics. Elite Daily lets him do both, and he couldn't be happier now that he's finally putting his years at SUNY New Paltz to good use. When he's not writing, Sean enjoys nature excursions, playing the guitar and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Look for him on "Real Time with Bill Maher," where he regularly appears in his most precious fantasies.

More In News

World Emily Arata

Hero 13-Year-Old Boy Saves Mom From Abusive Boyfriend By Stabbing Him

A 13-year-old boy from Phoenix reportedly saved his mother’s life after her abusive boyfriend attacked. Darvon reached for a kitchen knife after his mother’s long distance boyfriend, Keith Childress, 26, began beating her while threatening the boy and his 15-year-old sister. He stabbed Childress repeatedly, acting on his instincts. He said, It was my instincts, I […]

World Sean Levinson

Virgin Galactic Spaceship Crashes In Desert During Test Flight (Photos)

A rocket plane made by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic crashed in the Mojave Desert during a test flight on Friday morning. The firm’s Twitter account said that SpaceShipTwo had experienced an “in-flight anomaly” as it conducted its 55th test, RT reports. One pilot is dead with the other seriously injured, both of whom had been equipped […]

World Sean Levinson

Child Bride Who ‘Killed Husband To Escape Marriage’ May Get Death Penalty

A 14-year-old Nigerian girl may be put to death if found guilty of fatally poisoning her 35-year-old husband shortly after their wedding. Wasila Tasi’u married Umar Sani last April in accordance with Nigeria’s marriage act, which states that anyone under 21 can be married as long as his or her parents consent. Wasila is from an impoverished, conservative […]

World Emily Arata

Father Finds Perfect Halloween Solution For Son Who Can’t Have Candy

Halloween isn’t exclusively about rotting haunted houses and ghouls. There’s a sweet side to the holiday, as shown by this father’s letter that dates back a couple years. The note, delivered to the man’s neighbors, explains that 8-year-old Fletcher has epilepsy. To prevent seizures, he must follow a strict diet that excludes candy. So little […]

Also On Elite

Life

A History Of Marriage Equality: Why You Should Care About Same-Sex Marriage Issues

This week, SCOTUS issued an additional order from its September 29 conference, which effectively denied review of all seven of the petitions arising from challenges to state bans on same-sex marriage. This paves the way for the legalization of gay marriage, and provides equal rights for same-sex couples under state and federal law. Many people […]

Dating

When The Feeling Isn’t Mutual: How It Feels To Be In An Unrequited Attraction

I was a freshman at a small, Midwestern university and he was the “dream guy.” Older and tall with blonde, curly hair, he was witty and smart. Bell-ringingly attractive, in fact. Our meeting was akin to one of those cliché movie scenes: the first week of college at a party and everything unfolding in slow motion. […]

Politics

Secret Service Director Resigns Following Recent White House Security Breach

On Wednesday afternoon, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned amid heavy criticism over a White House security breach. In September, a man named Omar Gonzalez jumped over the White House fence, overpowered one Secret Service officer, and made it pretty far into the building before he was subdued. He was armed with a knife. Luckily, the […]

World

The Ebola Epidemic Might Threaten The World’s Chocolate Supply

Everyone is aware that the Ebola epidemic is a horrible and terrifying world heath crisis. But the deadly disease may be harmful in more ways than one: Experts say the virus’ deadly effect on Western African soil may, in turn, have a negative effect on the cocoa industry. In simple terms? Ebola is threatening our […]