PAFII Episode 19: Richard Romano, Restaurateur and owner of Screamin Onionz!

About Richard Romano

Richard Romano, founder of Screamin Onionz

Photo by Caylena Cahill // CC Photo & Media

 

Richard Romano is a restaurateur and founder of Aha American Health Appetite LLC, with years of experience opening and running restaurants in Manhattan NY. After losing his job when his wife was pregnant, he knew he needed to make a serious life change. Screamin’ Onionz! was born.

Richard took the only money he had, a meager tax return, and rented a stove in the back of a restaurant. He began to work on Certifications, Licenses, Scheduled Processes, Food Lab Analysis and USDA Approvals.  Through the summer and fall of 2014, Richard produced over 2500 jars by hand, worked 5 farm markets, fairs and festivals plus 21 retail stores. Through much positive feedback from tens of thousands of people, he fine-tuned his onions, re-branded the labels and in May of 2015, set out beyond the Millbrook, NY area. In July of 2015 Richard and his wife launched their first Whole Foods Market location.

 

Get in touch with Richard: Email | LinkedIn

About Screamin’ Onionz!

Screamin Onionz

Photo by Caylena Cahill // CC Photo & Media

Screaming’ Onions! is a condiment that’s consists of onions and peppers. Richard describes the condiment as “Kinda like onionz in hot sauce”. It is made from sliced onions slow cooked in their own sauces for hours, until the rawness goes away and they’re packed with flavor. Using simple ingredients like peppers, onions, vinegar and garlic (with no added sugar), Screamin’ Onionz comes in 3 different versions: Mild, Medium, and Spicy.

Learn more about Screamin’ Onionz: Website

 

Our Conversation

In this episode, I speak with Richard Romano, founder of Aha! American Health Appetite LLC, which produces Screamin’ Onionz, a condiment that uses onions and peppers. Richard and I met through an incubator type program put on by the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation. HVEDC brought me on to work with the participants of their Bet on My Business Academy, to provide consulting and photography. Richard is a graduate of the program, and we recently did a product shoot together for Screamin’ Onionz. I wanted to have him on the show because he has a great story and a lot of passion for what he’s doing. He’s definitely an entrepreneur… but also used to run restaurants, turning them from underperforming to high performing. So, there ought to definitely be something in this show for everyone, regardless of your specific situation… as an entrepreneur, restaurateur, chef or aspiring business person.

In our conversation, we discuss:

  • How a pool party inspired a dream
  • USDA safety Procedures to be aware of when starting a new packaged food business
  • Process of Running a processed food business
  • Food labs and co-packers… and why/when to use them
  • Motivation and getting started as a entrepreneur
  • Steps in becoming a food entrepreneur
  • The food manufacturing process
  • What Richard learned from winning a $1500 competition
  • Food Regulations to be aware of when starting out
  • The power of persistence and patience
  • How he turned a slow Hudson Valley restaurant around to be busy in the winter months
  • Why even small businesses need high quality photography
  • The feeling of seeing your product in professional product photos
  • And so much more!

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