David Tran, a refugee from Vietnam, turned Sriracha sauce into a business empire.
Tran started making chili sauce in Vietnam in the ‘70s and was one of the thousands of refugees who left communist Vietnam on a ship named Huey Fong. After being granted asylum in the U.S., he founded his own company a year later and named it Huey Fong Foods Inc. after the vessel he traveled on. The company started in a 5,000 square foot building near Chinatown in Los Angeles and Tran sold Sriracha and other chili sauces out of his van.
The sauce got its signature rooster and green cap along the way and, after seven years, the company outgrew the Chinatown location. It moved to a 68,000 square foot facility in Rosemead, CA. Although Tran was against advertisements and press, acclaimed chefs and food writers caused Sriracha to blow up and become and American staple. And since the name “Sriracha” was never trademarked, other companies like Heinz and Tabasco have used it in their products in the past.
In 2014, the private company reportedly raked in approximately $60 million and it has yet to see a year of declining sales since its launch — pretty impressive for such humble beginnings!