Richard Montanez Net Worth
Richard Montanez
Body Measurement
Body type
Height5 Feet 6 inches
Weight75 Kg
Hair ColorBlack
Eye ColorBlack
Shoe Size
Full NameRichard Montanez
NicknameGodfather of Latino Marketing
Date of BirthAugust 15, 1958
Age64 Years
ProfessionAmerican businessman, 
motivational speaker, and author
Richard Montanez Net Worth$15 Million
Education Graduate
BirthplaceOntario, California, US
HometownOntario, California, US
Zodiac SignLeo
SpouseJudy Montañez
TwitterRichard Montañez
Richard Montanez Net Worth

Childhood & Early Life

In Ontario, California, Montañez was born into a Mexican-American family. He was reared in a migrant labour camp in Guasti, an unincorporated hamlet outside of Los Angeles, as one of ten siblings.

Richard Montanez Net Worth

After leaving school, he worked as a labourer until Frito-Lay employed him as a caretaker at its Rancho Cucamonga plant in 1976 when he was eighteen years old. Records from Frito-Lay show that by October 1977, Montañez had advanced to the rank of machinist operator, and by the fall of 1993, he was a senior machinist operator.

He was employed by Frito-Lay as a caretaker after quitting school, and he eventually rose to the position of executive in the organisation. The most well-known thing about him is his invention of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, a claim that Frito-Lay and other employees contest. Based on this assertion, the 2023 movie Flamin’ Hot was made.

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Montañez claimed that after a Cheetos machine malfunctioned, he brought some flavourless snacks home and seasoned them with ingredients similar to those used for street corn in Mexico. He called CEO Roger Enrico with this proposal, and after receiving an invitation to give a presentation in person, he studied public library marketing.

Richard Montanez Net Worth

Subsequently, Montañez showcased the product as a viable option for the expanding Latino market and offered samples in plastic bags he had personally painted and sealed. After six months of a limited introduction in a Los Angeles test market, it was given the go-ahead for a nationwide release in 1992.

According to Newsweek, the flavour “rejuvenated the brand” and generated billions of dollars in sales when it was expanded to a whole product line. A May 2021 Los Angeles Times article refuted Montañez’s assertion, stating that he was not the creator of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, according to an internal Frito-Lay probe.

A representative from Frito-Lay said, “we value Richard’s many contributions to our company, especially his insights into Hispanic consumers, but we do not credit the creation of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or any Flamin’ Hot products to him.”

Further reporting by the Times revealed that Montañez’s claims were inconsistent with other events in the product’s release timeline, such as McCormick creating the seasoning and supplying Frito-Lay with initial samples on December 15, 1989, newspaper articles announcing the 1990 test market releases in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and Houston, and Roger Enrico’s 1991 hire, among other errors.

Richard Montanez Net Worth

A 2018 complaint from Lynne Greenfeld, a former employee who oversaw the group that created the hot snack for the single serve style, served as the impetus for the internal probe.

In conversations with former workers, Fred Lindsay—a sales representative for Frito-Lay in the Great Lakes region before being promoted to the company’s corporate headquarters—was also mentioned as having a significant impact on the early creation of spicy snacks.

However, the article claims that Montañez did, in fact, work his way up from a floor position to a marketing executive position at Frito-Lay, and that in 1993, while still a machine operator, he pitched new products like Flamin’ Hot Popcorn and two varieties of Fritos: Flamin’ Hot and Lime and Chile Corn Chips.

Roberto Siewczynski, a Latino-focused consultant for Frito-Lay, acknowledged that the incidents Montañez has detailed definitely happened in 1994 during the Sabrositas test market.

Richard Montanez Net Worth

After the article in the LA Times, NPR reporter Sarah Gonzalez shared the results of her own research for a previous Planet Money interview with Montañez. Montañez suggested a comparable concept, but it could not have been before 1992, according to Patti Reuff, Roger Enrico’s former assistant, and Al Carey, a former executive at Frito-Lay.

According to Carey, the product, which uses seasoning from the Midwest, was approved and marketed in California.

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Richard Montanez Net Worth

Major Work/Filmography

According to Frito-Lay, Montañez met with Jim Rich and Al Carey at the Rancho Cucamonga facility. He and two other people then “presented several products developed for Latino consumers, including cinnamon and spicy popcorn, and spicy Cheetos.

It is unclear whether this was the meeting that Montañez, Carey, and Reuff recounted because Roger Enrico was not present and the date could not be verified.

Richard Montanez Net Worth

Following the LA Times investigation, Montañez stuck to his story to Variety, claiming that his low status within the corporation prevented him from being documented for his efforts and that he was forced out of development before the test markets.

Screenwriter Lewis Colick of Flamin’ Hot responded by saying that while the narrative was not totally factual, “enough” of it was. In defence of Montañez’s contributions to the business, PepsiCo issued a statement claiming that the problem has put “a strain on our valued friendship with Richard Montañez and the Latino community.”

The statement made the allegation that “information we shared with the media has been misconstrued by some,” but it made no attempt to refute or negate the information reported by the Times.

Richard Montanez Net Worth

In the late 2000s, Montañez started giving keynote addresses, mostly based on his Flamin’ Hot Cheetos claim.

Vice President of Multicultural Sales and Community Promotions at PepsiCo North America was Montañez’s previous role. In March 2019, he resigned from PepsiCo amid an internal probe about his Flamin’ Hot Cheetos allegation.

A Boy, a Burrito, and a Cookie and Flamin’ Hot: The Incredible True Story of One Man’s Rise from Janitor to Top Executive are two of Montañez’s books that are based on his experiences. Eva Longoria’s biopic Flamin’ Hot is centred around him.

Awards & Achievements

Mr. Montañez is the only four-time recipient of PepsiCo’s Chairman’s Award, the highest honor given to employees based on performance and work ethic.

Richard Montanez Net Worth

Richard Montanez Net Worth

Richard Montañez has a pretty high role at PepsiCo right now. His job involves supervising Multicultural Sales and Marketing across different divisions of Pepsi in North America. He also has experience working in various departments of the company.

Although we don’t know his exact salary at PepsiCo, Richard Montañez net worth is estimated to be around $15 million.


Based on interviews with over twelve former Frito-Lay employees, the archival record, and Frito-Lay itself, it appears that Montañez did not invent Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

In response to inquiries regarding an internal probe, the details of which have not yet been made public, Frito-Lay sent a statement to The Times that said, “None of our records show that Richard was involved in any capacity in the Flamin’ Hot test market.”

Richard Montanez Net Worth

“After speaking with a number of individuals who worked in the test market, we have established that Richard was not associated with the test market in any way.

The statement went on, “The facts do not support the urban legend, but that doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate Richard.”

In 1989, a group of highly skilled snack food experts developed Flamin’ Hots within the corporate premises of Frito-Lay’s Plano, Texas, headquarters. The new product was made to rival the hot snacks found at Midwest inner-city mini-marts.

The task of developing the brand fell to a junior employee called Lynne Greenfeld, who had just received her MBA. She developed the Flamin’ Hot brand name and saw the line through to completion.

Montañez’s journey from a plant worker to a director with a marketing focus was a less Hollywood version of his own tale. Additionally, he made pitches for new product initiatives, which might have altered his career trajectory.

However, it wasn’t until the late 2000s, over two decades after the invention of Flamin’ Hots, that Montañez started to claim public credit for their creation. He first discussed it in remarks at regional awards ceremonies for philanthropy and business. Then his assertions went viral on the internet, thanks to the media’s appetite for a heartwarming tale.

Richard Montanez Net Worth

10 things you didn’t know about Richard Montanez!

  • Richard Montañez is a fascinating figure known for his remarkable journey from janitor to executive at PepsiCo.
  • He came up with the idea while working as a janitor at Frito-Lay’s Rancho Cucamonga plant.
  • Montañez never graduated from high school, yet his determination and entrepreneurial spirit led him to rise through the ranks at Frito-Lay.
  • He learned about marketing, branding, and business strategies through books and seminars, demonstrating the power of self-education.
  • Instead of submitting his idea through formal channels, Montañez took a bold step and called the CEO of Frito-Lay, Roger Enrico, to pitch his Flamin’ Hot Cheetos concept.
  • This initiative ultimately led to the creation of one of the company’s most successful products.
  • Montañez has been a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion in the corporate world.
  • He emphasizes the importance of embracing people from different backgrounds and empowering them to contribute their unique perspectives.
  • In addition to his corporate achievements, Montañez is an author and motivational speaker.
  • He shares his inspirational story to encourage others to pursue their dreams, overcome obstacles, and embrace opportunities for success.


How did Richard Montañez invent Flamin’ Hot Cheetos?

While working as a janitor at Frito-Lay’s Rancho Cucamonga plant, Montañez came up with the idea for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. He pitched the concept to the CEO, leading to the creation of the iconic snack.

What is Richard Montañez’s educational background?

Montañez did not graduate from high school. However, his self-education and determination propelled him to success in the business world.

What is Richard Montañez known for besides inventing Flamin’ Hot Cheetos?

In addition to his invention, Montañez is known for his advocacy for diversity and inclusion in the corporate world, his philanthropic efforts, and his motivational speaking engagements.

Has Richard Montañez received any awards or honors?

Montañez has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to business and his advocacy work, making him a respected figure in both the corporate and philanthropic spheres.

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