Tuesday, July 16, 2024
Today’s News
Tuesday, July 16, 2024
Today’s News

Healthy Food For A Healthier Lifestyle With Roma Food Products: Max Buontempo

We recently had the opportunity to interview Max Buontempo, Founder and Managing Director at Roma Food Products. From becoming one of the youngest managers at a retail store to pursuing a passion for the health food market and starting his venture, Max Buontempo’s journey is nothing short of an inspiration. In this session, Max shares about his journey that led him to the present position, the evolution of his responsibilities through all the challenges, ensuring employee satisfaction, and his vision of leaving behind a strong legacy.

The Beginning

We started the interview by asking, “Can you walk us through your professional journey and how it led to where you are today?”

Max Buontempo shared, “After a succession of achievements in various roles from an early age, I was appointed as one of the youngest managers of a retail store subsidiary owned by one of Australia’s major FMCG retailers. Leaving the retail management role in 1984 to follow the passion for driving opportunities in the health food market, we set off to create a new venture including finding and negotiating suitable new equipment and premises.

Max Buontempo

I am one of the Founders of the Roma Food Products business which, today is one of the largest and most diverse, fully integrated, allergen-free manufacturing facilities in Australia exporting to over 50 countries.

From initial concepts for new business opportunities or adventures, I tend to have found myself quickly exploring these ideas further, planning the next steps, and taking action which drives greater outcomes and fulfillment.”

Adaptability Amidst Adversities


Challenges are a part of every business journey. We asked Max Buontempo, “Reflecting on your career, what have been some of the most significant challenges you’ve faced, and how did you overcome them?”

Max Buontempo

Max Buontempo shared, “Being hands-on, entrepreneurial, and excited to explore new opportunities, I have enjoyed taking on challenges over the past four decades. My experiences include M&A activities relating to the negotiation of business acquisition from the early years of my business career and successfully integrating the businesses including an interstate move to Adelaide for four years with a complete relocation of the manufacturing plant and equipment to Melbourne.

We successfully developed and produced one of the first gluten-free pasta products globally by modifying machinery and innovating products. We relocated the business multiple times in the first five years to accommodate growth and implemented newly acquired processing equipment. Additionally, we managed the expansion and ensured the success of new acquisitions.”

Max Buontempo added, “I also established distribution networks, securing a presence in major retail avenues and independent stores in Australia and New Zealand. I have represented the company internationally at trade shows and developed export markets, with exports accounting for 50% of sales to 70 destinations worldwide. I further led the establishment of a European presence by opening a warehouse in the Netherlands and managing the construction of industrial sites and other successful property developments.

Max Buontempo

Over the past 5 years alone, I have acquired or developed residential and industrial properties worth over AUD 55m. One of my significant projects was managing the development of an 18.7-acre site, including negotiations, design, construction, and sales of a 40-lot industrial subdivision. Throughout my 40-year career, I have overseen legal, financial, banking, insurance, customer negotiations, and employment matters for various companies.

The greatest challenges could arise where there may be internal undermining or white-anting within a business. The learning from past occurrences is to not allow such activity to gain momentum as it damages the business growth, opportunities, and reputation.”

Ensuring Employee Satisfaction

To ensure the sustainable success of any business, ensuring employee satisfaction is paramount. So, we asked Max Buontempo, “What strategies do you implement to maintain high levels of employee engagement and satisfaction?”

Max Buontempo shared, “Working closely with staff and fostering a positive culture has rewarded Roma Foods with many of the team of up to 100 staff having remained long term with the business. Several have now retired over the past few years after having remained in the company for over 25 years contributing to the growth and positive culture while other team members continue to remain with the business long term and maintain the ongoing valuable contribution of knowledge and experience.

Apart from holidays and time with family that I enjoy, it is true that across the 40 years, I don’t recall missing too many days. I continue to attend the manufacturing site, have full involvement within the Company, and work with the team with enthusiasm every day. I also make the effort to regularly greet the team across the factory and office areas.

Max Buontempo

Today, success is all about having the best people and providing sufficient pathways to allow them to demonstrate their skills and contributions. The aim has been and continues to be, to grow the management team with great people and to ensure that the business has the capacity and preparedness to meet future growth opportunities. Staff and skill retention is paramount to the success of business.”

Max adds that it is important to recognize that the Company is not about an individual but driven by a team.

Leaving A Legacy Behind, Max Buontempo

Lastly, addressing how Max Buontempo considers maintaining his legacy, we asked, “How do you want your business to be remembered, and what steps are you taking to secure that legacy?”

Max Buontempo concluded, “The legacy I want to leave behind is working with many supporting and good people. There are team members that have been in the business for many years who are friends and become part of the family.

I am fortunate and grateful to also have the support from my wife Toni, who remains understanding of the demands of running a business and the time required for maintaining the other additional business opportunities. The most important legacy for me is my family and to allow my two boys to pursue their dreams and passions just as I did.”

Follow Max Buontempo on LinkedIn.

Find Roma Food Products on LinkedIn and visit their website http://www.romafoods.com.au

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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

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