30 Heroes for 30 Years: Mike Ronan, Melting Pot

Mike Ronan

Mike Ronan has held many jobs in his life. He sold life insurance, worked for FedEx, curated lawns, and even managed a Melting Pot restaurant after high school. But he is most proud of his service in the United States Marine Corps, and his success as the owner of four Melting Pot locations across three states. Mike is a man on the move.

Like many Veterans, Mike loves his country and felt called to serve in some capacity. With a father who was in the Navy and a grandfather that served in the Army, Mike followed in their steps. But he decided the Marine Corps was the place for him. Originally trained as a Communications Electronics Technician, Mike was assigned to an infantry battalion. When the battalion decided they didn’t need his specialty, he was retrained as a hand-to-hand combat instructor in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP). After five years of service and multiple visits to hot zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq, Mike left the Corps as a corporal.

But life outside of the military wasn’t as easy as Mike hoped. He spent his first six months homeless, struggling with mental health issues. As a 100% disabled Veteran, Mike needed a helping hand and a new passion. He eventually met his wife who helped pull him back on his feet and he was able to land a job with a bio chemical company.

One day his wife wistfully commented about how nice it would be to own a Melting Pot (her favorite restaurant) so that she could eat fondue all the time. That set Mike on the path to ownership. He first explored opening a new location, but then a distressed location caught his eye. It was for sale, and Mike felt he could get the financing together to scoop it up. Through a series of ups and downs, Mike eventually purchased two locations in Wisconsin. Things were a disaster, but Mike and his team were able to turn them around and quickly started to see both profit and recognition for their hard work. After his two restaurants doubled their profits and won 11 awards, Mike decided to expand to two more locations this year, and he isn’t done yet.

Mike attributes their success to training great managers and building trust. With a great team under him, it makes it easy to manager four locations across three states. He recalls from his time in the Marine Corps that junior Marines eat first. To him, this means his team gets paid first and taken care of before he looks to his own needs. “Take care of the people and the people will take care of you,” said Mike. Knowing how to be dedicated and punctual, and have good follow through, were also key factors in his success.

Mike wants other disabled Veterans to know that there is hope and they can still accomplish a lot, despite their physical or mental struggles. Mike plans to keep growing his operation until he can’t grow any more. And his wife is loving every bit of the fondue selection their new career path has afforded her.



#30Heroesfor30Years

1 Comment

  1. Collin Benyo on November 10, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    An outstanding read about an outstanding leader.

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