Auburn native, Fuddruckers founder talks new book

Phil Romano divides his life into three phases.

First, he wanted to make money. Then he wanted to make a name for himself. But now, he wants to make a difference.

That last motive became part of the name of Romano's new book, "The MAD Entrepreneur: Making a Difference in the World, in Business and in Life."

The Auburn native and founder of restaurant chains Fuddruckers, Romano's Macaroni Grill and EatZi's wrote the book, his second, to inspire young entrepreneurs, he said over the phone Friday.

Romano, 79, attributes his own success as an entrepreneur to knowing his strengths — and knowing how to use them to give customers something they want.

"Being an entrepreneur, to me, is being an opportunist. I don't think about profit, I think about satisfying needs," he said. "The only way to create sales is to create something people want and need."

Though he's best known for the national chains he created, Romano has more than 20 other restaurant concepts to his name. They include Rosalie's Cucina and Johnny Angel's in Skaneateles, where Romano maintains a home. He lives in Dallas, where he paints in his free time and operates a restaurant incubator, Trinity Groves, as well as one of his more novel concepts, the Network Bar.

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