The Story Behind Flamin’ Hot Cheetos To Be Turned Into Movie

Behind every bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos lays a humble story of how a Mexican native was able to turn a recipe into a billion dollar product.

Fox Searchlight and DeVon Franklin will be producing the soon to be new film “Flamin’ Hot,” which tells the complete story of how Richard Montanez, a mexican native, was able to become a successful business man.

After a competitive sale, Fox Searchlight was able to lock in a deal after multiple studios were vying to obtain his story.

There is no definite date of when the film will be finished, but it will be a movie worth watching.

The Story Behind Montanez Success

Richard Montanez was working as a janitor at the Frito-Lay Rancho Cucamonga plant in California when he came up with the idea of Hot Cheetos. Today, he is the executive leading multicultural sales and community promotions across PepsiCo’s North American divisions.

Montanez grew up in Gausti, a small town near Ontario, California where he would help his family pick grapes. He didn’t ask for much as a child and recounts living a modest life. While most kids wanted to work for the town’s factory, all he wanted was to drive a trash truck.

Gausti, California the town where Montanez grew up.

Montanez struggled to understand English as a student and it ultimately lead to his decision to drop out. But his decision to drop out of high school lead him to being employed as a janitor at a California Frito-Lay plant in 1976.

A Frito-lay factory

Montanez recalls watching a company-wide video of then-CEO Roger Enrico saying, “We want every worker in this company to act like an owner. Make a difference. You belong to this company, so make it better.” He took these words to heart.

I looked around and didn’t see a lot of reaction from my co-workers, but for me it was the opportunity to do something different.

By fate, a machine broke down in the assembly line and it left Cheetos without the cheddar on them. So he decided to take some home and come up with a recipe. He had seen an elotero man add chili onto corn and he decided to add chile to the un-cheddared Cheetos.

An ‘elote’ which inspired Montanez to create Hot Cheetos

He then thought of the idea to present his recipe to the President of the company and to his excitement the president gave him the opportunity to present it. The president gave him only two weeks to come up with a business strategy.

I had two weeks to prepare a presentation for the company executives.

He went to a local library and read up on what good business strategies were and turned his idea into a business plan.

He bought himself a $3 tie and sold his idea to the president. It is now a billion dollar product that people of all ages enjoy to eat.

Montanez at a conference

Today, Montanez as executive of multicultural sales and community promotions tries to encourage other Latinos to pursue their dreams. He says,

The antidote to fear is hunger. When you have hunger for a job position, knowledge or a new house, you go and get it and fear will never get a hold of you.

Not only does he persuade people to follow their dreams, but also gives back to his community. He provides scholarships for high school graduates and donates to Feed the Children. He also believes it is up to people like him that have to give back in order to make change within the communities in need.

Latinos who have made it like myself have a responsibility to open doors to younger generations and teach them that they can do it. I do it because I can and I know what it is like to be hungry.

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