Meet Glen Helmstetter, managing partner of Copeland of New Orleans—Atlanta Franchise

Meet Glen Helmstetter, managing partner of Copeland of New Orleans—Atlanta Franchise—One of the People Who Makes Copeland’s a Special Place.

“You either love the restaurant business or it chews you up” says Glen Helmstetter, Managing Partner with Copeland’s of New Orleans Atlanta Franchise. With 30 plus years in the business, it is apparent that he loves the business. “Like most people who are lifers in this industry I started out young and at the bottom washing dishes when I was 14 years old at a neighborhood seafood restaurant in New Orleans.” It didn’t take long for him to find his niche in the business, “I loved the atmosphere of being where everyone was. happy and having a good time, the camaraderie of the staff was big influence to me”

When Thornings Seafood Restaurant closed its doors, it had a profound impact on the 20 year old who had spent 6 years working every aspect of the business. “I loved that restaurant and when the owners decided to close I thought I had no options”–until a fateful drive and he saw a sign for a soon to open restaurant named Copeland’s of New Orleans on the Westbank of New Orleans. “I had done everything at Thornings except wait on the tables- the managers insisted that I apply for server- had no idea how much I would enjoy serving tables and the energy that could be produced in a large restaurant.” He met a couple of important people at Copeland’s, “On the opening team where my wife Amanda and my partner Bill Goudey, I liked them both very much at the time but had no idea how important they would be to me 30 years later!”

He left Copeland’s and opened a restaurant of his own in Algiers- “The folks who opened Thornings after a while closed down and I decided to buy it and open it back up as Captain’s Cove, it was a scary exciting experience but I loved every minute of it”. A fateful meeting one late afternoon would change his life forever. “I had opened up and was doing anything we could to get business in, a banker friend of mine suggested I join the Kiwainis club that was forming at the time. They met at 7:00am on Thursdays which was not a great hour for me being that I worked a ton of nights. The first meeting I attended I was at a Shoney’s close to my restaurant, they were outgrowing the room and where looking for a more permanent home- I was shocked when someone said- how about Glen’s place- I reluctantly agreed but it was the best thing I ever did- it changed my life. My restaurant had more exposure than ever and my business picked up a great deal right after I started hosting the meetings. One day my future wife walked in, she was marketing manager for Shoneys in New Orleans and came to check out the competition that had stolen the Kiwanis Club from one of her stores. Amanda and I noticed each other as soon as she walked in the door, we had dinner the next night and have been together ever since. I am so grateful I didn’t have the nerve to tell the Kiwanis that they couldn’t have their meetings at my restaurant.