Frito Lay: The World’s Largest Snack Food Corporation

3310 Hwy. 36 North
Rosenberg, TX 77014

April 2004–Throughout high school I was quite studious. In my house grades came first, therefore I was not allowed to work until I was eighteen years old, though I always wanted to work because I wanted to feel independent. When I graduated I decided that it was time for me to spread my wings and join the work force, especially since I would be starting college in the fall and needed extra money for books and such. At first I was just aiming for a job in a department store like Foley’s or Lord and Taylor , a starter job. I applied for several positions and I guess its not often you meet an eighteen year old these days that has absolutely no job experience whatsoever, so consequently, all the jobs I applied for were pretty much hit and miss. By this time I was getting a little frustrated, so one day I was just lounging around the house thinking about what I was going to do next, this Cheetos commercial came on with Chester Cheetah and I was thought that could work. “I am a Cheetos addict, therefore, why not work with something you love, or at least try to?
I decided I wanted to be a part of the Frito Lay team. I discussed this with my mom and she was very supportive. My mom informed me that Frito Lay had a factory in Rosenberg ,Texas , which is about thirty five minutes from my home. My mom said “If that is what you truly want to do then go for it. Just do not get upset if you do not get the job.” I prepared myself and about a week or so later I went to the company and filled out and application and at first the human resource manager told me they were looking for a Q.A. tech (Quality Assurance) and it would be perfect for a college student because it was only part time and you chose what days you wanted to work and your hours would fluctuate at your discretion. As a Q.A technician my job would be to check the nitrogen sensors on the machines and run test on the product to test for foreign matter, allergens, or cross contaminant which could result in lawsuits. My job was to make sure that the consumer was getting the best product we could supply

Surprisingly, I expected for this to be a hit and miss opportunity also, but I tried to be positive and just waited to hear from them. The human resource manager Cheryl Riddell gave me a call three days later and wanted me to come in for an interview the following day. I was so nervous but I managed to get through it and luckily I got the job

I first went on a tour of the plant to get aware of the site, because I would have to be in every part of the plant at some point. Tours are offered by appointment five days a week during the hours of 9a.m. to 5p.m. free of charge. I was shown the prep room where they peel, wash, and soak the potatoes before they reach the processing area where they are fried and sent down the conveyor to drip and cool and then the packaging area where they travel from the kitchen to the allyns where they are dropped down spiral chutes onto stat-weighers which are machines that weigh the amount of product and release it into the bags and then are packed in boxes and placed on pallets then shipped out.

I remember the first day I entered the production plant, walking through the sheeted (Doritos, Tostitos) packaging room the smell of corn filled the area and the machines were blaring and packers moving quickly packing bags in boxes, in a sort of robotic fashion. As I walked further into the plant I came to the PC (potato chip) department the smell of grease and old chips made me sick to my stomach and the floors were slippery from years of saturated grease. Machines on either side less than four feet apart. It was kind of gloomy in a way, many of the packers seemed unhappy you know sort of like they were there because they did not have a choice. Which made me wonder why I was so excited was it just the fact that I was young and this was my first job or had I gotten lucky and was not standing at the packing line.

I worked as a Q.A. Tech for four months, until an opening for another position came up for a Food Safety Coordinator. As Food Safety Coordinator I had some sort of input in operations, I am in charge of the sanitation team and I have the opportunity to travel to other Frito-Lay plants around the world to gather techniques used to insure the safety of the product. I placed my bid in the box still not thinking I would get that position, because I was going for the same position as workers who have been with the company for twenty years and were definitely more qualified than I was but my mom always said that you will never know what you are truly capable of until you actually get out there and try it. I waited for news regarding that position for three weeks, possibly the longest three weeks of my life and I finally hear from Cheryl June 1, she congratulated me and informed me that I had been given the position and I would be starting the following Monday.

Once I was awarded the position I could feel a great deal of animosity towards me from veterans within the factory. I could understand the way they must have felt in a way and I wondered what made me stand above the rest. My resource informed me that I was chosen because they were looking for a young energetic person to represent there company and someone who would be able to grow with the company and not be eligible for retirement in the next ten or so years.

Now when people ask me where I work and I tell them Frito Lay they immediately think of potato chips. However, potato chips was merely the beginning of this multi-billion dollar conglomeration which is the result of the merger of two independent privately owned companies began some twenty nine years ago. On September of 1932 a man named Elmer Doolin a former ice cream business owner in San Antonio , Texas whom purchased the Fritos Corn Chip recipe from a Mexican immigrant who was desperately trying to return back to his native land, for the mere price of one hundred dollars. The other future partner of the company was a man named H.W Lay of Nashville , Tennessee who in 1938 purchases an Atlanta potato chip company from a former supplier whom he had been working for after it was in danger of failing and changed the name to H.W Lay and Co.

In 1945 H.W Lay & Company was granted the right to distribute Fritos corn chips. Frito Lay later partnered with Pepsi Cola in 1965 forming PepsiCo which is now a thirteen billion dollar operation in itself, which now operates under three major business groups World Wide Foods ( Frito-Lay, PepsiCo International), World Wide Beverages (Pepsi Cola and also restaurants such as Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and PepsiCo foods international. The company has grown and evolved drastically throughout the years, it now distributes several brand of potato chips such as Fritos, Doritos, Funyouns, Ruffles, Lays, Cheetos, and Tostitos, along with cracker jack , and Grandma’s cookies along with several less popular products just to name a few. Frito Lay is taking the world by storm it also now merged to incorporate Tropicana, Gatorade, Quaker, and Pepsi Cola. Few people actually know the history of Frito Lay which has now grown to be the world’s largest multi billion dollar snack food corporation. Frito lay is constantly seeking for new ideas about how to improve an existing product and even create another one. Hopefully, I will play a part in the innovation of a new product somewhere down the line sometime in my career.

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