Hulu’s ‘Flamin’ Hot’ follows the story of Richard Montañez, who worked hard to turn his life around. From starting as a janitor in his company, he rises the corporate ladder to become a marketing executive, and it takes just one idea to bring about that change. The film traces his journey from the beginning, showing the audience how far he has come.
It is an incredibly inspirational story, encouraging viewers to take charge of their lives and take the initiative rather than wait for something to happen. If his rags-to-riches story moved you, you might be interested in finding out Montañez’s net worth. Here’s everything you need to know about him.
How Does Richard Montañez Make His Money?
Born to a Mexican-American family in Ontario, California, Richard Montañez had humble beginnings. His family worked at a vineyard, picking grapes. Growing up without luxury led him to make opportunities for himself when none were available. In a story recounted in his memoir, he revealed that he first started making money by selling his mother’s burritos for 25 cents. This was the first time he used his marketing skills to turn a product into a profitable venture.
In the late 1970s, Montañez started working at the Frito-Lay plant in Rancho Cucamonga. He was a school dropout and had his wife, Judy, fill out the application form because he could barely read or write. He got the job as a janitor and made $3.10 an hour. His dedication and hard work soon earned him a promotion, making him a machinist operator. He continued to work harder, and more promotions came his way, leading him to hold a director-level position at PepsiCo. He worked for various departments in the company and was also the head of Multicultural Sales and Marketing in several divisions.
In the late 2000s, he claimed credit for creating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, which brought his story of being a self-made man who started from the bottom to the limelight. He talks about his struggles and how he overcame them in his speeches and books, inspiring others to elevate themselves and work for what they deserve.
Richard Montañez’s Net Worth
Richard Montañez worked at PepsiCo for more than forty years. During this time, he started as a janitor, making $3.10 an hour to become a high-level marketing executive, with an estimated salary of around $150,000. He retired from the company in March 2019 and has moved on to other ventures that have proved rather lucrative. Montañez’s story makes him the perfect person to motivate others to work for better things.
He is a “sought-after keynote speaker” who “shares his journey of turning his passion and creativity into success, and how anyone can achieve their dreams by thinking outside the box, taking risks, and never giving up.” He has delivered speeches at Harvard, USC, Target, Walmart, Prudential Financial, and the Philadelphia Eagles, among others. Reportedly, he charges anywhere between $10,000 to $50,000 per appearance.
Montañez has also written two books about his life. His first memoir ‘A Boy, a Burrito and a Cookie: From Janitor to Executive’ was published in 2013. After a bidding war, the book’s movie rights were sold, and it has now been adapted for Hulu as ‘Flamin’ Hot.’ His second memoir, ‘Flamin’ Hot: The Incredible True Story of One Man’s Rise from Janitor to Top Executive,’ published by Penguin Random House, was released in 2021.
For first-time authors, a book deal generally garners an advance of $10,000. However, for someone of Montañez’s stature and considering the demand for inspirational stories like Montañez’s, we expect he received much more than that for his books. Moreover, authors also receive royalties from book sales, which are expected to increase when a movie based on them is released. Considering all these factors, there is no doubt that Richard Montañez has built a comfortable life for himself. We estimate his net worth to be around $15 million.