Ellen Chen and Mario Del Pero are the married founders of California restaurant chain Mendocino Farms. In this episode, Ellen and Mario describe the many changes eateries like theirs were forced to undergo over the past year, including migrating a huge percentage of their business “off-premise,” which meant leaning heavily into both technological innovation and a defined employee culture and set of core values. Ellen and Mario also discuss their families and backgrounds. Ellen, a Taiwanese immigrant, has roots in manufacturing and management consulting, while Mario is a third-generation northern California agriculturalist. Despite their differences, Ellen and Mario represent a unique partnership, having harnessed their disparate skills to successfully lead Mendocino Farms’ evolution from a confined urban gastropub to the thriving suburban family oasis of today. Ellen and Mario cite restaurant industry mentors Tom Simms and Dee Stein, as well as USC professor Steven Lamy, as inspiring life influences.