In this issue: Spring 2019

Profile

Catering to the Community

hero-catering

After meeting the requests of a steady stream of customers from March to November, Ryan McLean (BSBA 2016) parked his two work trucks and closed Mountain Crust Catering for the season. “I’m exhausted, to be honest,” said McLean, who founded the company while studying finance at Daniels. “It’s been a wild, wild period of growth, and we’re all tired.”

But the 2016 graduate isn’t guaranteed much time off. “I’m sales and marketing and accounting and all that stuff,” he said. “I still have a lot of work to do, but less—definitely a lot less—than when we’re in season.”

McLean began selling pizzas during the summer after his sophomore year, working with fellow Minneapolis native Kendall Flores as head chef. Since then, McLean has doubled the size of his business by adding a second truck to the operation. Mountain Crust Catering specializes in a Minnesota-style pizza—McLean said that means it has a “super-thin, very light crust”—and only caters private events. Mountain Crust Catering handles eight to 15 events a week, with an average of 125 people attending each event.

For McLean, starting a business while at DU meant “no more weekends partying—your classic college experience. I was fully committed to making the pizza truck work and also graduating with what I deemed to be a pretty good GPA.” He said that required carefully balancing the demands of his business and classes, one of which was Professor of the Practice Stephen Haag’s “Gateway to Business” course. He considers Haag a mentor. “He’s the first person I showed my business plan to,” McLean said. “He said, ‘Go for it!’”

A valuable lesson that McLean said he learned from his time at Daniels was the importance of networking, to strike up conversations and ask questions in order to “find out important things from important people. I think that’s a big skill I took out of college.”

Read Articles by Category