Author Archives: Jeffry B. Skiba

About Jeffry B. Skiba

Jeffry B. Skiba is president and CEO of Vomaris Innovations. He can be reached at or at 480-921-4948.

Caprese Salad at LON's at the Hermosa

The Making of A Menu: LON's At The Hermosa

Creativity is key. Not just when putting a menu together and deciding which dishes to feature, but also in how often the menu is changed, what font is used, etc.

With a history in the arts — The Hermosa Inn was originally built by cowboy artist Alonzo “Lon” Megargee in the 1930s — we continue this tradition by featuring “artful American” cuisine at LON’s at the Hermosa. From utilizing fresh produce grown in the one-acre garden located just outside the LON’s kitchen and bringing in durum wheat from my family farm in Marana, Ariz. to make our gnocchi and other pastas, the ingredients used mean just as much as the evolution of the menu each quarter.

With newly released lunch and dinner menus, below I’ll explain some of the determining factors that go into the making of a restaurant menu.

Visually Appealing

The difference between our lunch and dinner menu at LON’s is clear. Lunch is a more casual environment, where people come to relax on the patio, have a quick lunch on their break or have a lunch meeting with business associates; so, the look and feel of the menu reflects that with its straight-to-the-point font and easy-to-read layout.

While the colors in each menu are the same, the dinner menu utilizes a more artful font for our fine-dining evening options and also emphasizes a shorter, simpler design to reflect the taste and simplicity of our artful American cuisine.

No more than three fonts are used in each to keep it from looking busy, and each section is broken up via an artful brushstroke to further keep in line our artistic history. Both menus are also ordered logically per the steps of each meal; for lunch, it’s non-alcoholic versions of classic cocktails, followed by fingers to share, soups/salads, sandwiches and house specialties; while for dinner, it’s starters, soups/salads, entrees and sides for sharing.


Many focus groups have proven that there is a discomfort with dollar signs and decimals. By keeping the price of a dish as abstract as possible, it makes the process of spending money less threatening.

This is why you’ll often not see a dish listed as:

Farmer’s Market Chopped Salad………………………………$14.00

But instead, it will be:

Farmer’s Market Chopped Salad  14


As a chef, I believe this is by far one of the most important aspects of a menu. We change menus quarterly to encapsulate the fresh ingredients of that particular season, and our Chef’s Tasting Menu changes weekly to showcase the creativity of the LON’s culinary team. It all begins with the product, and then our culinary team is able to be creative in keeping it simple enough to showcase those natural flavors.

While that is one side of the menu creation, ingredients also play a role in how a guest chooses a dish from a menu. For example, other studies have shown that an item is more likely to sell if the ingredients showcased are from a specific place or region (such as Crow’s Dairy goat cheese compared to local goat cheese).

So next time you go to a restaurant, notice the creativity that goes into that menu. What makes it different? Is it the placement of the items, the lack of dollar signs or the font and color used? No matter what, it will showcase the creativity of that establishment, and now you’ll know what went into the thinking behind it all.

For further information on LON’s at the Hermosa, The Hermosa Inn or to make a reservation, call (602) 955-7878 or visit, Facebook, Twitter or The Hermosa Inn blog.

If You Go: LON’s at the Hermosa
5532 N. Palo Cristi Rd.
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253


test tubes

Biotech Startups Need To Take Ideas From Concept To FDA Approval

Arizona has always been known as a great place to start and grow a business. While some industries have been staples of our economy for some time, there’s another growing industry that is bringing jobs, capital, and most of all, innovation, to our state. Arizona has, in recent years, become home to a growing number of biotechnology and medical device companies.

At the heart of every one of these companies is an entrepreneur with a vision and an idea. Some of these entrepreneurs are starting a biotech or medical device company for the first time. That’s scary enough. But the biotech world comes with a whole other set of hurdles that makes it even harder to go to market. One of the first and most important hurdles is getting U.S. Federal Drug Administration clearance. This is a challenging process every biotech, medical device and pharmaceutical company has to face. Here’s an inside look at how startup biotech companies gain clearance for their products and bring them to market.

For starters, which companies need FDA clearance and which ones can bypass the process? Basically, if a company plans to sell its product directly to physicians and hospitals, and wants insurance companies to pay for it, it needs that FDA clearance. All entrepreneurs in this space need to ask themselves that same key question when they start a new venture: Who are you selling this to?

For a small startup biotech business, or even just an engineer with an idea, the FDA process may seem daunting, costly, and in some cases, unnecessary. Many companies try to shortcut the system or choose instead to market under homeopathic regulations, which are quite different than the FDA’s. In these cases, there is often (but not always) less testing or insufficient data to support claims of what the product can do. In some cases, small businesses think the FDA makes the process so difficult and costly they simply can’t do it. It’s important for these startups to remember that gaining FDA clearance should be seen as an investment in their company that allows them to market effectively. It may seem stifling, but it also opens doors to sales channels that wouldn’t be available otherwise and can be very lucrative.

The public often doesn’t realize there are different types of FDA clearances biotech, pharmaceutical or medical device companies can apply for.

Pharmaceutical companies apply for a new drug application, while medical devices fall into three categories:

Class 1 —
This is for low-risk devices and it costs almost nothing to submit for this clearance.
Class 2 — This is for devices that are substantially equivalent to other devices already on the market. This process can cost about $4,000 just for the submission, not including the cost of testing and developing the submission.
Class 3 — This is for new devices or devices that are deemed life supporting/assisting and can cost millions of dollars after testing and the application process is complete. It’s important to remember that only products with a Class 3 are FDA approved, while the others are FDA cleared. FDA approval simply means that the FDA was involved in the testing and it was a new product unlike any other on the market.

Any startup biotech company will want to spend ample time researching the guidelines and class definitions before applying for FDA clearance. It seems like a tedious process, but it is a sound time investment and helps ensure the company only needs to go through the process once per product. Any mistakes along the way can result in going back to the drawing board and starting the process all over again.

To avoid this, these companies need to hire employees and consultants who have been through the process and can lend guidance from experience. Also, it is strongly advised to open a dialogue with people at the FDA. They are there to help companies get through the process smoothly and efficiently, and can help a startup overcome challenges along the way.

So when should you start the process? In most cases, a company will wait until it has a product prototype or a design it’s happy with before starting the application. The process to apply can often begin at the start of the business, but the real work begins once the company has something that can be tested for safety and efficacy. The good news is once the submission is complete, and if everything in the application meets the FDA’s requirements, it will only take 60 to 90 days on average to hear back from the FDA.

Once a company considers FDA clearance they can also expect some changes to their business. As with every form of government licensing, the FDA has rules and guidelines that must be followed, and these are known as the quality systems requirements. This is simply a form of management by the FDA that ensures biotech companies offer a consistent level of quality in every aspect of their business and are marketing products in a way that will not deceive or misguide the public.

In the end, every biotech company has to decide how they are going to grow their business. As we see more and more medical device and other biotechnology companies emerge in Arizona, we’ll see them go to market in vastly different ways.