Friday, February 3, 2012

Phil Romano as Simon Cowell?

Concept creator Phil Romano must be taking his inspiration these days from “American Idol” founder Simon Cowell. News reports arising from Dallas say the father of Macaroni Grill and Fuddrucker’s, to name just a few of his brainchildren, is funding a restaurant “incubator” where entrepreneurs pitch their concept to a panel of chefs and potential investors, a la any number of reality talent contests.

A winning idea earns a match-up with potential backers and 2,500 square feet of space in a 13-acre complex Romano and his partners have purchased to redevelop.

The jury members recruited so far include such towering toques as Stephan Pyles, Dean Fearing and Kent Rathbun, according to the coverage. Members with more of a business background include Butch McGregor and Stuart Fitts.

Romano and other investors in the Trinity Grove project will receive a percentage of sales from any venture that’s awarded space as a result of getting a thumbs-up vote from the committee.

Romano has predicted that restaurant companies will come to the complex to scout for concepts they could develop.

He told the Dallas Morning News’ Karen Robinson-Jacobs that his group has already signed letters of intent with 14 would-be restaurateurs who want space in the Trinity Grove complex, and that 30 in total have submitted ideas.

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