Biting into the origin story of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos


A squad of Frito-highest-ranking Lay’s officials — the CEO, CMO, and a squad of VPs — assembled in a California boardroom early morning in the late 1980s to attend what Richard Montanez would be delivering. Montanez, in contrast, did not express their ancestry. He wasn’t really a manager. He just had fourth-grade schooling and can not read or write. Montanez had an innovative proposal that would generate the business billions of dollars to become one of the most iconic and famous beverages in history:  Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Also in the meantime, he had to encourage the entire world to adhere to him.


Richard Montanez marketed his ultimate American success story for a long time: even in California, he was employed as a janitor at a Frito-Lay plant, he cold-called his business CEO to market the snack food smash Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The only problem is that Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were also on grocery shelves. Montanez discusses with journalist Lee Cowan why this snack food origin plot has gotten as muddled as the orange covering on the chips.

Hispanic branding

As Montanez alleged to be Willy Wonka, the creator of one of the spiciest and also very popular snack items on the market: Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. It’s no minor feat, as Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have spawned an enterprise that extends so far beyond the snack food market.

Since 2007, “The Godfather of Hispanic Marketing” has been sharing this story that how he went home a box of basic Cheetos after serving the nighttime janitor duty at the Frito-Lay facility in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Influenced by high-end suppliers, he seasoned them with his wife Judy’s chili sauce recipe.


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