Alex Adler had never worked in restaurants when he decided in 2011 to launch an elevated taco concept called Puesto. “I was a home cook my whole life,” Adler says. “I just had this crazy idea. We are Mexican-American, our parents are from Mexico. … When we started thinking about Puesto, we saw Mexican food and tacos, especially, being an afterthought.”

The chain evolved from a fast casual to a full-service concept, which now has six units in California with three slated to open this year. As a young leader, Adler says he “grew on the job.” But one of his biggest takeaways so far has been in how he hires new talent.

“What makes a great leader is being able to focus on what other people’s past has been,” Adler says. “I want people to come in with their previous experience and really educate us, and for us to be receptive about that. A lot of people miss on that point, and that’s been essential.”