Episode 169
August 1, 2023

Crackers, Cheese, and Challenges

with Francisco Pergola, Co-Founder of Cheddies Crackers

About this episode

In today’s episode, we hear Francisco Pergola the Co-Founder of Cheddies Crackers, a high protein, low sugar snack brand made with real cheese sourced from regenerative farms. During this episode, Francisco shares his story of making something out of nothing, time and time again, from growing up in San Antonio, Texas (with dreams of working on Wall Street) to starting the first Ping Pong club in high school, and beyond. Francisco created Cheddies after realizing that hospital patients had limited healthy snack options. Working with nutritionists and testing his concept within clinics, Francesco and his family have taken the snack world by storm. Tune in to hear more today!

This episode is sponsored by

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•  AWESOME CX by Transcom provides high touch, personalized customer experience services to consumer brands of any size! Email Lee at lee@stairwaytoceo.com to learn more about their award-winning services and Awesome Coffee Chats.

 In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

[01:05] Francisco Pergola’s childhood, studies, and career before co-founding Cheddies Crackers.

[09:23] The inception and development of the Cheddies Crackers concept.

[13:48] Researching what patients needed with nutritionists and testing the concept in hospitals.

[20:14] Taking the product to market, finding a big break, and getting stocked at H-E-B.

[31:09] Navigating fearlessness as an entrepreneur and asking for forgiveness rather than permission.

[40:10] The ratio of challenge to celebration on the journey and weighing up the benefits along the way.

[48:55] Francisco reflects on the early days of the business and what he would recommend others do differently.

[53:07] Background on the cracker industry in the USA and Nabisco. 

To Find Out More:

Francesco Pergola on LinkedIn

Cheddies Crackers

Outlaw Ventures

Awesome CX

Lee Greene on LinkedIn

Stairway to CEO

Stairway to CEO on Instagram


I’d go in and talk to their patients and just listen to what they needed which is something that, in the medical industry, not many people do.” [0:14:07] 

“When we go into the clinics, the easiest selling point for us was familiarity and approachability.” [0:18:14]

“[It] was near and dear to our hearts when we started Cheddies — it’s a snack; it’s meant to be fun; it just so happens to be better for you.” [0:19:38]

“I tell people all the time, just ask for forgiveness later.” [0:21:12]

“I don’t like having limits on what I can and cannot do, because you only live once, so why not try to do as many things as you can?” [0:38:38]

“95% of what we have done and dealt with have been challenges and like 5% have been celebratory moments.” [0:40:10]

“The good is always at the end, somewhere, somehow.” [0:40:36]

“There are going to be moments where you seek answers, you seek help from others, and the truth is, it’s your journey, and they are your answers to figure out.” [0:47:37]

“I think taking on debt at an early stage is an effective tool.” [0:48:57]

Read the transcript

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