Café Mac’s award-winning employee

By Sarah Gottlieb

Most Macalester students recognize Joann Johnson’s red hair, friendly face and contagious smile as they swipe into Café Mac. Yet what many do not realize is that she in turn recognizes them.

Johnson, the Café supervisor, has served the Macalester community for twenty-six years. She is also the supervisor of all student workers in Café Mac, which includes around 90 employees each year. And despite the great number of students who are on the meal plan, she manages to remember over a quarter of their names.
During her years at Macalester, the Café has seen three different managing companies, and Bon Appétit has managed it for the past ten years. Her impeccable service was recently recognized as she won the “Bon Appétit Be-A-Star Associate of the Year Award” for the entire Midwest region. After being nominated for two consecutive years, she was honored and invited to a retreat for all regional winners in Orlando, Fl. this coming November. The retreat will include such festivities as a red carpet dinner, a Hawaiian themed night, and, of course, several visits to Walt Disney World.

“Joanne’s working ability is impeccable,” operations director Eric Rasmussen raved in his nomination letter to Bon Appétit. “She is always willing to fill in wherever needed; when she is working, all areas of the Café will be under close supervision. She has had a positive influence on thousands of students and many Bon Appétit staff.”

Johnson said she thoroughly enjoys her position at Macalester and finds pleasure in getting to know the many students she serves.

“I like working and being around students; the managers here are also great to work for,” Johnson said. “I get attached to a lot of the students. Some alumni stop back to see me and send me letters. Graduations are always very emotional.”

Outside of Macalester, Joanne enjoys walking, listening to music, and attending musicals in the Twin Cities. She considers herself an “outdoorsy person.” Born and raised in the area, she lives in Saint Paul, where she is close to her children and grandchildren.
Next time you are in Café Mac, be sure to congratulate Joanne on her honor. And maybe even introduce yourself— there is no doubt that she will remember your name!