The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Mother of Café Mac

By Jens Tamang

We know her for her colorful shirts and her wild earrings. On Halloween she donned a bright orange shirt, and on Tuesday, she wore a bright red shirt that read “Vote! Vote! Vote!”Joann Johnson has been working in the food service industry for 26 years. She’s worked at three different food service companies, the most recent one being Café Mac. There she is seen as a guide, a matron and a friend.

“I’ve been working for so long that I think people see me as a leader,” she said. It’s easy to see why her employees respect her, both as a jovial personage and a hard worker: Joann was recently nationally recognized by Bon Appetit Management Company at a dining service gala. She was awarded a trip to Florida and commended as one of Bon Appetit’s employees of the year.

“I was honored,” she said. “The awards ceremony was almost like the Academy Awards.”

Joann has been painted as such a leader that some even poke fun at it. “People sometimes call me ‘The Mother of Café Mac,'” she said. One of Joann’s co-workers, “even refers to me as ‘Mommy.’ People often ask if I really am Mo’s mother. I have to tell them no.”

Outside of Café Mac, the mother attends to her duties as the actual mother of three sons and one daughter. All of her children are out of college and home now. Her eldest son works for Xcel Energy, the youngest for Hennepin County, the other for a restoration company, and her daughter works as a secretary at a medical firm.

“I’m very proud of them,” she said.

Joann also loves music. “I go to concerts with my kids all the time. Especially wherever my son goes. I don’t have a particular favorite musician. We just love music, and I listen to what’s there.” She did admit to being particularly fond of bluegrass and jazz.

Joann said she also loves camping, walking and hiking. One of her favorite places to go is Minnehaha Falls, located a short distance outside of Minneapolis.

Even though Joann has worked in the same industry for so long, she has remained chipper, swiping cards with a smile. Joann explained that she loves her job because of the student body at Macalester, new and old.

“I love my job because of the students,” she said. “The students here, for the most part, are so respectful and kind. Of course we have problems with some kids taking things, but for the most part everyone is so upbeat. I feel like they keep me upbeat, too. Even alumni will come back and give me a hug. It’s because of the students that I’ve stayed here so long and its part of the reason I enjoy my work so

View Comments (5)
More to Discover

Comments (5)

All The Mac Weekly Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *