Ronald Alcazar spent years honing his family’s tortilla recipe with his mother for he and his brother’s new tortilla company. Today, the two UCLA alumni have their own tortilla factory and hope to sell their tortillas to UCLA Dining Services.
Anthony and Ronald Alcazar, who graduated from UCLA in 2006 and 2012 respectively, started their own flour tortilla company, Mr. Tortilla, in 2012. Anthony Alcazar said he urged his brother to start the company during Ronald Alcazar’s senior year of college because they wanted to share their family’s tortilla recipe.
Developing the tortilla recipe was a family endeavor, Ronald Acazar said. He spent over a year creating the formula with his mother and father. He said he prides Mr. Tortilla tortillas on being non-GMO and preservative-free.
“A lot of tortillas that are out there, they focus on chemicals that make the process easier,” Ronald Alcazar said. “What we did is we developed a process where we controlled all of these things but didn’t have to rely on those chemicals.”
Once the brothers finalized the base recipe for their tortillas, they were able to start production in a small warehouse. Over time, they developed different types of tortillas such as spinach, whole wheat and chipotle-flavored tortillas.
Since the founding of Mr. Tortilla, the Alcazar brothers have been able to grow the company and expand its production. The brothers opened their own factory this year to manufacture tortillas in the San Fernando Valley. Ronald Alcazar said he and Anthony Alcazar never thought they would get to this point and that he is surprised and thankful for how well his company is doing.
Despite having a six-year age gap, Anthony and Ronald Alcazar work well together and have complementary business skills, Ronald Alcazar said. He added Anthony Alcazar, being the older brother, is the practical one who comes up with the ideas for products and that he comes up with creative ways of figuring out how to accomplish those ideas.
The brothers sell tortillas to college dining halls such as UC Irvine and USC. Anthony Alcazar said he would really like to sell his tortillas to UCLA Dining and added that Mr. Tortilla is currently working with UCLA Dining representatives to set up a taste test for their tortillas.
“I went to UCLA, I lived in Rieber for two years,” Anthony Alcazar said. “Because we’re Bruins, this account is special to us.”
The Alcazar brothers make an effort to take care of their workers, Ronald Alcazar said. He said he and Anthony Alcazar bring workers food and give out bonuses for a job well done. He added they put a lot of love and care into making their tortillas.
“One small focus on treating our people well helps us hold the product to higher standard,” Ronald Alcazar said.
Carmela Anderson, the account executive for Mr. Tortilla, said that the Alcazar brothers’ tortillas and the company they have built are direct results of their personal and intellectual growth in college.
“Everything about Mr. Tortilla is a product of UCLA,” Anderson said. “It’s a product of their knowledge from UCLA because both of them are from UCLA.”
Anthony and Ronald Alcazar grew up in Los Angeles with the dream of coming to UCLA, said Anthony Alcazar. The brothers were the first generation in their family to go to college.
“I’ve always wanted my whole life to go to UCLA, I’m a die-hard Bruin,” Anthony Alcazar said. “And my brother as well is a die-hard Bruin.”
Both Anthony and Ronald Alcazar credit their time at UCLA for shaping them and preparing them to start and run their business. Anthony Alcazar was able to network and meet people as the business-oriented sibling, Ronald Alcazar said. Ronald Alcazar was able to absorb as much knowledge as he could, which translated to his position as chief operating officer of Mr. Tortilla.
Ronald Alcazar added he and his brother not only benefited from the education they received in college, but were also inspired to work hard by the community they found at UCLA.