Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

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. Eventually, he became the Director of Operations at that Mexican grill. In 2005, Mario, along with his wife, Ellen Chen, opened Mendocino Farms Sandwich Market in Southern California. 15 years later they've grown their business to 17 locations.

This is my second interview with Mario Del Pero. CLICK HERE to get caught up with Episode 414!

Check out Episode 613 with Horst Schulze where we discuss his "24 standards of service" as discussed in today's episode!

Check out Episode 632 with Nick Marsh as mentioned in today's episode!

Check out The Lean Startup by Eric Ries as mentioned in today's episode.

Show notes…

Calls to ACTION!!!

Favorite success quote or mantra:

  • "If it was easy everyone would be doing it."
  • "Good is the enemy of great."

In today's episode with Mario Del Pero we will discuss:

  • Restaurant success is a team sport
  • Many people are good, few people are great
  • Looking back to look forward
  • What we can learn from greatness (even professional athletes)
  • Your competitors are essential to your own success
  • The "unstoppable" mindset
  • Surround yourself with people who compliment you
  • "Evolve of die"
  • You must mingle with you fellow restaurant owners
  • The 3 ways to scale culture
    • Recruiting and assimilating the right team
    • Living the rituals
    • Coaching
  • Mario Del Pero's new book "The Coaching Cure"
  • Retain the magic while scaling
  • Staying IN your business
  • The difference between city and suburban dining when scaling
  • Franchise or no franchise?
  • Reasons against franchising for Mendocino
  • Conscious capitalism

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?
    • Asking about their coaching styles
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Not watering down your "whys"
  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?
    • Can I make some talking room
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?
  8. What's one thing you feel restaurateurs don't know well enough or do often enough?
    • Stay hungry, don't reinvent themselves, get beyond mediocrity
  9. Name one service you've hired.
    • Michael Antochi - third party vendor/purchaser
    • Architects
  10. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your restaurant walls and how has it influenced operations?
    • Facepay - in the future
    • Virtual Drive-Thru - in the future
    • Flyby
  11. 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?
    • Be a student of life
    • Seek out mentorship
    • Start with you "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!


Restaurant Unstoppable is a free podcast. One of the ways I'm able to make it free is by earning a commission when sharing certain products with you. I've made it a core value to only share tools, resources, and services my guest mentors have recommend, first. If you're finding value in my podcast, please use my links!
Direct download: 700_Mario_Del_Pero_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT