The Jay Young Show

A weekly podcast featuring insightful discussions with CEO’s, entrepreneurs, authors, athletes, celebrities, our military and veteran heroes from around the country.

Featured Episodes

Liffort Hobley

President of the NFL Alumni Association - Dallas

From playing in college with LSU Football, and then professionally with the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Dolphins, Liffort has had an extraordinary career on and off of the football field. Now the President of NFL Alumni-Dallas Chapter, Liffort’s community efforts expand much further than just a sport.

Ellis Liddell

President of ELE Wealth Management

Ellis has been in the financial services industry since 1980. He formed his own company, Ellis Liddell Enterprises, in 1990 which formed the foundation for what is today ELE Wealth Management. Mr. Liddell presents complex financial information in layman’s terms and is very knowledgeable in the areas of retirement and income planning.

Phillip J. Romano

Founder of Fuddruckers and Romano's Macaroni Grill

Philip is an investor, entrepreneur, artist, and nationally-renowned restaurateur. He’s been involved in the restaurant business for more than 50 years, created over 25 concepts and received numerous honors. Phil and his team serve underserved and food insecure children within the Dallas communities through his Hunger Busters program. 

Jay Young

“We’re going to talk about how Phil became healthy, and wealthy, and wise … He’s got a great life plan in his new book M.A.D. What’s MAD? Are you mad?!”

Phillip J. Romano

“Making A Difference! I’m M.A.D everyday! I’m trying to make people M.A.D too, Jay … I’m M.A.D. I make other people M.A.D. I make other people M.A.D. by being an entrepreneur.”

Closer Look at Episode 4 with Philip J. Romano

Episode 4 of the Jay Young Show podcast featured Philip Romano, an American restaurateur, entrepreneur, and philanthropist best known as the founder of the restaurant chains Fuddruckers, Macaroni Grill, and Eatzi’s. 

Young began his conversation with Romano by asking what he learned from his family. Romano responded: 

“That’s where you get your value system. I’ve been brought up Italian, so that’s got something to do with it. My mother and father are both from Italy, and they had a value system of hard work and honest. I used to work for my father before Little League. I’d go with him in his contracting business. Sometimes he’d say, ‘look at that guy over there. He’s leaning against the wall [and] can’t stand on his own two feet. And we’re going to have coffee with the guys and this guy’s never going to put his hand in his pocket to pay anything. It stuck with me all through life. 

And my mother and father used to say to me, ‘I don’t care what you do, but be the very best at it. I don’t care if you become a bum. Be the world’s most famous bum. Then my mother used to say, ‘you think about the devil, the devil will appear. You think about good and good will happen.

I have a son, and I had him at 55 years old. He’s one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to me. I brought him up like a business: with love and nurture. You’re supposed to love and nurture your business, too. I used to drive him to school every day; that was my job. 

I said the first thing you have to have is principles. Principles are sticking to your deal, doing what you said you were going to do. The next one was responsibility. You’ve got to be responsible for the choices you make, responsible for the consequences if they’re not the right choices. And number three, you’ve got to have integrity. You’ve gotta be honest and truthful. Don’t lie and don’t lie to yourself. The fourth was communication. You’ve got to communicate you message, what you think. Don’t let other people tell you what to think or how to think. Express yourself. Number five has three things in it: love of God, patriotism of your country, and charity, giving back. 

I want you to pick the right kind of people to hang around with. If you have this value system, you’re going to pick people just like that, and they’re going to pick you as a friend, too. You can’t go through life without a peer group; you need friends that you want to keep the rest of your life: the good ones.”

So we talked about Sam for a minute. You dedicate the book to Sam. 

“He plays lacrosse at Syracuse University. I may have some fame if you want to call it that but the person I’m dependent on making me famous is my son. He’s the guy that takes the torch and goes out and makes a difference and makes his mark in the world. When he was in the sixth grade, he went to ESD, he made him write a letter to himself. In the letter, she asked him some questions about his friends, what he wants to do when he gets out of college, and what he wants to do when he gets out of high school. Then when he graduated from high school, she mailed it to me and we read it together. One of the questions she had on there was what do you want to do when you get out of high school. When he was in sixth grade, he said, ‘I want to go to Syracuse University, and I want to play lacrosse.’ He figured out what he had to do and what he better not do to get there and figured it out.

He was the number one recruit in the state of Texas and number three in the country. He did very well, but he did it himself. He was very determined. He had a goal and worked for that goal. So I’m very proud of him. That’s the kind of determination you need in business today. My father passed on a lot of things to me, and I want to pass on a lot of things in my son. That’s important to me.”

Young then brought up the story of how Romano needed to raise $150,000 to launch Fuddruckers. Romano explained: 

“I came from Florida, and I was in Texas for around two years, and I saw the need for a good hamburger. Every time you start a business, you’ve got to have a reason for it being started. It has to serve a purpose and solve a problem. A good entrepreneur is an opportunity. He looks for an opportunity to solve a problem that people are coping with. You’ve got to recognize these things. So Fuddruckers. I remember the quarter pounder at McDonald’s. That was a great hamburger, so when I got out of college, I still went there to get that hamburger. They kept it the same, but what wasn’t the same was the price. They kept it the same but was three times the price. Hmm. I’m going after that. 

I’m going to create a better hamburger, a bigger hamburger. I’m going to charge more for it, get the clowns out of the way and put the long neck beers in there. Keep it to a hamburger and create the world’s best hamburger. 

If I didn’t do the things people told me not to do, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I know [my meat] is fresh, and that’s the deal with Fuddruckers. And that’s the deal today with the restaurant business; real food to me is fresh food.”

Romano went on to describe what paved the way for Fuddruckers’ success, which boiled down to giving the customers what they wanted: fresh meat, the toppings they want, fresh buns, and a good price. He told a story about his experience at Fuddruckers: 

“When I started the Fuddruckers, you know, we’re open for about maybe six months. And Norman Brinker came in. I never met Norman, and he came in with about five or six people. I wasn’t there when he came to the counter, and he told all of his friends, ‘now this is the way to be in the hamburger business.’ So ten years later, when I did Macaroni Grill, the same thing was happening. I didn’t want another public company. So I called Norman, and I said, ‘This is Phil Romano. I’m returning your call.’”

And the rest is history. The second half of Phillip Romano’s incredible interview can be found on episode 5 of the podcast, where they talk for another forty minutes about what he’s learned in his career as an entrepreneur, restaurant owner, father, and husband. 

Jay Young

Jay Young has a lifelong passion for the oil and gas business. His family has been in the business for over 100 years. His affinity for the oil patch led Mr. Young to found King Operating Corporation. King’s business model is designed to minimize risk by acquiring and developing in areas with a long history of producing oil and gas. Mr. Young and his associates developed a unique method for the oil and gas business to acquire scalable assets in a proven field, utilize equity to start and debt to prove up the field and divest to a larger company.

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