Tortilla King Invests in Tech to Stay Ahead
The tortilla producer concentrates on providing quality products and staying innovative.
For Tortilla King Inc., the formula for achieving a strong position in the marketplace has been simple. “You have to offer your customers the right assortment of products that taste great and offer a genuine value,” President and CEO Juan Guardiola declares.
The company also keeps a close eye on detail and its competition, while constantly striving to get better. “We fight for our business every day and will keep doing that,” he continues. “There is no time to rest on past successes.”
Based in Moundridge, Kan., Tortilla King provides a full line of tortillas that it distributes through its DSD network, which is backed up by a team of merchandisers. The company started operations in 1992 with a small flour tortilla production line.
Four years later, it moved to a new facility to accommodate its growth as well as the expansion of its production lines. Today, Tortilla King is one of the largest tortilla producers in the Midwest, with a line that features flour and corn tortillas as well as tortilla chips and salsa.
“Our goal is to always have the freshest possible product on the shelf for our customers,” Guardiola says. “For our own Mama Lupe’s brand, we service seven states, but with private label, our reach extends almost across the United States.”
Staying innovative is important for Tortilla King. To achieve that goal, “We make significant investments in new technologies that are ahead of what our competitors do,” Guardiola states.
“This is done to provide our customers with the best product, maintain competitive pricing on the shelf and improve our food safety standards to even higher levels,” he continues, noting that Tortilla King has invested in renovating its facility in the last five years.
The company also purchased new production lines. “The focus has been to become a leaner producer by improving facility efficiencies, consistency in finished products and automatization in our facility, while at the same time making our employees’ jobs easier,” he says.
Ready to Listen
Tortilla King focuses on its relationships with its customers and listens to what they want. “Overwhelmingly, we are hearing them say ‘Better for You’ is what they are looking for,” Guardiola reports.
The company is using this feedback to guide its R&D efforts. Currently, “We are excited about the options we are looking at for launch and believe the new items we launch in 2020 will excite our retailers and their customers,” he says.
Tortilla King’s relationships with its vendors also are key. “We hear their ideas and tell them what we are working on so they can help us solve our problems,” he says.
The company also focuses on building long-term relationships with its suppliers “so they can be confident in us as a customer and expand the trust we have in each other,” Guardiola continues. “We believe great suppliers make for great opportunities.”
According to Guardiola, Tortilla King operates with a lean environment that allows it to make decisions quickly. Instead of using a large bureaucracy, “We want a structure that is reactive quickly to customers and suppliers,” Guardiola says.
It also has nurtured a philosophy of teamwork within its workplace. “Every person on our team is key to our success,” he asserts, noting that every department is connected. “It’s a team effort.”
Going forward, Tortilla King will maintain those philosophies while staying focused on growth, which “is an essential element of success,” Guardiola says. “When you stop growing, you actually start getting smaller – you can’t stay the same.”
As part of this expansion, Tortilla King plans to be a complete food company. “We will never lose focus on what has driven our growth – Mama Lupe’s Tortillas – but we are also optimistic about our place in the future as a food company offering an even wider array of products and services,” he concludes.