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The Amazing Story Behind How Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Were Invented

Richard Montanez OAD

It’s 1976. Richard Montañez, a janitor at a Frito-Lay plant in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, has an idea that will revolutionize the snacking industry: a hot, crunchy snack marketed towards the exploding Hispanic population in America. So, Montañez calls up the CEO of Frito-Lay, because apparently you could just do that as a janitor in 1976, and for whatever reason the CEO obliges him with a meeting.

With a $3 tie that his neighbor had to tie and a marketing book he checked out from the public library, Montañez pitched one of the most successful snack foods in industry history to the CEO of Frito-Lay. Montañez, who never attended high school or college, successfully sold the CEO of one of the biggest food conglomerates in the world on an idea he came up with as a hobby in his kitchen.

Fast forward 37 years to 2013 and he’s now the VP of Multicultural Marketing for PepsiCo and giving motivational talks to groups of 300+ people.

In a recent interview with the Kansas City Star, Montañez said, “My disqualifications are the very things that qualified me. … If you have confidence, you can walk into any room. … Your job is to prepare yourself to walk through the doors.”

So go out there and find your Flamin’ Hot Cheetos guys; there are millions to be made in the snack game.

[via Kansas City Star]

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Brian McGannon

What do I love? I love happy hour, a good golf tan, and getting moderately drunk during dinner.

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