414: Being a student of the industry with Mario Del Pero


In this episode with guest, Mario Del Pero we discuss how you need to get better every day, starting with the core customer when opening a restaurant, being a student of the business, creating systems around “wow” experiences, owning your brand, finding a business partner that balances you, selling happy, scaling culture, recruiting/filtering the right people, coaching culture, creating process around R & D, and doing what you already do better.

Mario Del Pero grew up in his family’s meat processing business. He would go on to study International Relations at the University of Southern California and was on the path to becoming a career lawyer. Instead, he took a job at a Mexican grill where he started as a barback’s back. He eventually became the Director of Operations. In 2005, Mario, along with wife, Ellen Chen, opened Mendocino Farms Sandwich Market in Southern California. 12 year later they’ve grown their business to 17 locations.

Show notes…

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

“Get better every day.”

Today’s Sponsor


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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which “it factor” habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?

    • Inspiring others.
  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    • Not paying attention to the downside.
  3. What’s one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

    • Ask about their coaching style.
  4. What’s a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    • Not watering down his “why”.
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.

    • Selling happy.
    • Don’t do standard food.
    • Living a higher purpose of creating transformative relationships.
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?

    1. When clearing plate from a guests table, never ask, “Can I get this out of your way?” Instead, ask, “Can I make some talking room?”
  7. Share an online resource or tool.

    1.  nrn – delivers restaurant industry news, data and analysis on menu, marketing, operations and financing trends to senior decision-makers.
    2. QSR–  is the business-to-business magazine for the limited-service restaurant segment, which includes: quick-service (fast food), fast-casual dining, snack shops, and pizza restaurants
  8. What’s one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

  9. What’s one piece of technology you’ve adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?

    • Wisetail– LMS powers great places to work. Our award-winning LMS is quickly establishing itself as a staple in the online learning industry.
  10. If you got the news that you’d be leaving this world tomorrow and all memories of you, your work, and your restaurants would be lost with your departure with the exception of 3 pieces of wisdom you could leave behind for the good of humanity, what would they be?

    1. Student of the business.
    2. Seek out mentorship.
    3. Start with your whys.

Contact Info


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining today! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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Huge thanks to Mario Del Pero for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


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