The following story about entrepreneur and SMU alumna Ashlee Hunt Kleinert ’88 appears in D CEO, September 2013. Kleinert’s food truck, Ruthie’s Rolling Café, is a regular on campus at Food Truck Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as special events.
Ruthie’s Rolling Café’s Entrepreneurial Appetite
By Carol Shih
When Ashlee Hunt Kleinert told her father four years ago that she wanted to start a food-truck business, Ray L. Hunt couldn’t believe what he was hearing. At first he thought she was talking about those vehicles that visit construction sites and sell frozen and prepackaged foods. Hunt, heir of oil tycoon H. L. Hunt and CEO of Hunt Consolidated, knows the energy business inside and out. But a restaurant on wheels? What was that? And why would anyone stand in line instead of going to a brick-and-mortar restaurant for a nice meal?
Kleinert’s father wasn’t the only one who wondered why the mother of three wanted to get into the food-truck business. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, Kleinert had never taken a business class. Still, the energetic blonde had founded an events company (In Any Event) and co-founded a nonprofit (Executives in Action). She was inspired to get into the business after hearing at an events convention that food trucks were projected to become a hot new trend.
As it turns out, Kleinert had excellent timing. Ruthie’s Rolling Café hit the road in August 2011, right when the food-truck scene was just about to explode. The blue and pink truck bears the name of her grandmother, Ruth. …
See the campus food truck schedule here