Happy Thursday! I'm back this week with a celebrity from California (even if you haven't heard of her yet) and a powerhouse on the national food scene. 🥪 Ellen Chen is the Co-founder of one of the most popular and successful restaurants in Los Angeles - Mendocino Farms, which has now expanded all over California and into Texas and Washington. 📈 She's living the American dream and her story will have you ready to live yours! 🙌
After graduating with a degree in economics from UCSD, Ellen became a consultant for Accenture Consulting firm where she facilitated the growth initiatives and improvements for top Fortune 100 companies. She then honed her business acumen at the marketing firm of Suissa Miller and a dot-com start-up called Target Marketing Interactive. After being part of the internet success of the 1990s, Ellen met Mario Del Pero and invested in his restaurant, Skew’s Teriyaki, which was one of the first fast-casual Asian concepts. Together, they grew Skew’s to three units in Los Angeles before selling the company in 2001.
Determined to lead through empowerment and build a thriving business, they created Mendocino Farms and opened their first unit on Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles in 2005. Since then, Mendocino Farms has grown rapidly, taking its place as one of the most-loved and highest-grossing sales-per-square-foot restaurants in the neighborhoods they serve. Ellen and Mario set out to build a welcoming gathering place where happiness is always an order away with a focus on healthy and responsibly sourced ingredients - and they definitely accomplished their goal.
Ellen continues to offer the restaurant group a big business perspective with an entrepreneur’s passion. She's been named to Nation’s Restaurant News annual Power List, which recognizes the top 50 leaders who have changed the restaurant industry and she's a top advisor to various associations, boards, and charities, impacting the industry in a positive way.
Ellen covers a lot during this chat which you will definitely find helpful and inspiring. She touches on:
🔸 uncovering opportunities that may be hidden or overlooked
🔸 engraining her values into her business
🔸 how you can sell happy (you'll want to take notes on this)
🔸 the methodical steps needed to create repetitive success
🔸 the higher purpose of being able to change someone's day
🔸 aka some really powerful stuff!
If you're an entrepreneur or want to just make the world a better place, you need to listen to this episode and get to know Ellen better. She's definitely mastering both and has so much to teach us all. I'm so happy this interview finally happened! It more than lived up to expectations. Thank you Ellen for this time and for your incredible contributions to the hospitality industry and really, the world. Love you! 💖 Enjoy everyone!