Joie Schoonover,

Helping clients achieve operational success - that's my goal.

LinkedIn:  Joie Schoonover

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You may have heard the proverb, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” When Joie was asked in elementary school if she would like to sort silverware in the lunch room during a study hall, she enthusiastically said yes! That was the beginning of her passion for the food service industry. Taking every opportunity to learn more about the industry, she worked summers in the kitchen at a Girl Scout camp and in her high school lunch room. 

When deciding where to attend college, Joie looked at what food service programs were available in her home state of Indiana. Once at Purdue University, she found herself in need of a way to financially help herself through school. She worked in residence hall food service throughout college, climbing the student leadership ladder, ending as a “head waiter” in her last two years. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management.

Throughout her career, Joie always stove to make things better for guests and staff alike. She looked at a problem’s root cause for a long term solution rather than a quick fix. Implementing systems, whether a computerized food production system, purchasing system, or staff training program, she aimed at leaving a place better than when she found it. 

Before joining Rippe, Joie was University Housing’s Director of Dining and Culinary Services at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There she served on design teams of new builds and renovations for multiple dining facilities. New buildings create opportunities for change, and there was no shortage in Madison.  Changing from traditional serving lines to marketplace dining throughout the department maximized facilities and created opportunity for improvement throughout all campus facilities. Reorganizing staffing at all levels and working to define the culinary direction by changing menus and branding stations throughout the department created a consistent menu format for an exceptional customer experience with extraordinary food.

Sales grew in residential dining by nearly 40% and in catering by 38% over her seven years at Madison with minimal increases passed along to the customer. This created an opportunity to refine back-of-the-house systems for efficiencies to help staff more easily produce quality food and service for guests.

Buying high quality food at affordable prices is an operator’s goal. By combining purchasing contracts throughout the Madison campus, all three dining entities realized food cost savings. Closing a dry storage warehouse and working with a strong prime vendor resulted in an overhead cost reduction for years to come. 

It is often said “Take care of your employees and they will take care of you.”  Creating a yearly training program that encompassed professional and personal growth opportunities for all staff resulted in immeasurable payback to University Housing in terms of staff engagement and satisfaction. The goal of the program was hoping that staff remembered the program in six months. Staff remember the program years later and fondly look forward to new skills they will learn each year. 

Joie and her husband enjoy casual entertaining with friends and family while attempting new recipes. Collecting dishware takes them to all kinds of shops throughout the Wisconsin-Iowa-Illinois tristate area where they live.

Industry Resumes