Everyone knows about the tasty sauce that is the world’s favorite hot sauce which adds flavor to any dish. This is the story of how the empire was built by a Vietnamese American – David Tran
Sriracha sauce manufactured by Huy Fong is not just a favourite but also a powerhouse of growth ; the product has hit a revenue of $150 million per year.
The company has managed to accomplish this feat despite operating without a sales team, advertisements or a trademark, as evident in the sheer popularity of the sauce.
Sriracha sauce originates from a Thai village called Sri Racha where a woman whipped up a sauce that was made by combining chili pepper, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. David Tran was one of the many people across the globe that was able to twist the recipe and concoct a variation of the paste.
The story of David Tan –
David Tran fled the Communist Vietnam to the US at the height of the Vietnam war.. Tran, his family and over another 3000 other refugees escaped on a Taiwanese boat – the Huey Fong. This boat would ultimately inspire the name that Tran chose to name his company.
Once safely settled in LA he swapped chili peppers with jalapenos and began to sell Sriracha in recycled jars out of a van. During the first month of his sales he was able to generate $2300. Eventually to make his sauce jars a little more appealing he created a logo with a rooster and went on to design the ‘squeeze sauce bottles’ with a green lid to convey freshness.
Growth comes with expansion –
His product picked up popularity during the 1980’s which led to the remarkable expansion of his company over the years. From his initial upgrade from his van to a 5000 square feet building in Chinatown of LA he took the company to a 650, 000 square feet warehouse in Irwindale.
No advertising needed –
Huy Fong’s Sriracha has come to fame, becomes the world’s favorite sauce and made so much revenue with no sales team or any advertising. Distribution is carried out using the same distributors from the past and any form of advertising is through word of mouth.
The quality and freshness of his sauces come from incorporating jalapenos that are at its most fresh stages of the year. Because jalapenos have a harvesting season, Huy Fong produces a years worth of products in 10 weeks.
Sticking to trusted formula that works –
David Tran, despite countless opinions and suggestions, is not willing to change the taste of sauces. A supplier once told him his sauces were too spicy and a friend suggested adding a base made from tomatoes to make it sweeter. Tran did not heed any of these.
Even though countless investors have attempting to acquire the company for decades now, Tran has rejected all offers. His motto ‘ A rich man’s sauce at a poor man’s price’ is something he lives by and hopes is carried on by his children.
This is the story of how a refugee from Thailand built a giant of a company in the US by starting small. To read more stories about how small entrepreneurs grew their businesses into empire, read our articles.