How a Janitor at Frito-Lay Invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
At $4 per hour ($18 in 2019 dollars), the job paid many multiples of what [Richard] Montañez made in the fields. It represented a better life — insurance, benefits, social mobility.
Unable to read or write, the 18-year-old recruited his wife to help fill out an application. He journeyed down a dusty road, met with the hiring manager, and got the job.
When he broke the news to his family, his grandfather imparted a piece of advice that would always stick with him: “Make sure that floor shines,” the man told his grandson. “And let them know that a Montañez mopped it.”
Montañez decided he was going to be the “best janitor Frito-Lay had ever seen” — and he quickly made his presence known.
Furthermore, I tip my hat to Roger Enrico (RIP). He was involved in leadership at PepsiCo for a very long time. Had Enrico not taken a risk on Montañez's ingenuity, it's possible we wouldn't have Flamin' Hot Cheetos today. As for Mr. Montañez, he's currently VP of Multicultural Sales & Community Promotions at PepsiCo.