Allison Copeland Donnelly – P.O.W.E.R.ful Women
Vice President, Al Copeland Investments Restaurant Division
Q: How would you describe your business?
Al Copeland Investments (ACI) is a privately owned restaurant company, and runs like family owned business. It includes 4 unique brands Copeland’s of New Orleans, Cheesecake Bistro, Batch 13 and Nolé. At all of our restaurants we are committed to high quality, consistent food and taking care of our employees. When we take care of our employees, they take care of our guest!
Q: When did you launch?
Copeland’s of New Orleans was established in 1983.
Q: How were you inspired to start your business?
I have worked for my family’s business since I was 15-years-old, but I never thought I would stay in the business. I graduated from college after Hurricane Katrina, and the human resources department was in need of assistance in staffing our restaurants. I came in to help and instantly fell in love with the fast-paced environment that provided challenges, surprises and a rewarding culture.
Q: What were some of the biggest obstacles and how were they overcome?
My biggest obstacle is balancing work and family, but for me my work is my family. So if I hit personal bumps, I am always surrounded by great support.
My Dad had to face the same challenges; he was gone a lot, but family time was QUALITY time. He is a great role model. He raised all five of his daughters to have tremendous work ethic. Three of us work for the Restaurant Division. I am pleased to have my sister Alexandria Reuter as my Director of Purchasing, and my sister Ariel Pierce as Marketing Manager.
Q: What local resources have you used?
• Manda Fine Meats Inc. – Andouille & Smoked Sausage
• H J Bergeron – Shelled Pecans
• Harlon’s LA Fish Fresh – Gulf Seafood
• Capitol City Produce – Local Grown Produce
• Leidenheimer Baking Co. – French Bread
• Chisesi Brothers Meat Packing Co. – Ham
• NOLA Brewing Co. – Draft & Can Beer
• Port Orleans Brewing Co. – Draft Beer
• Urban South Brewery – Draft & Can Beer
• Kleinpeter Farms Dairy, L.L.C – Milk, Heavy Cream and Buttermilk
• Orleans Coffee – Hibiscous Tea
• New Orleans Roast Coffee – Coffee
• Noni’s Kitchen – Fresh/Local Jam
• Reve Coffee Roaster – Coffee
• Perrone & Sons – locally owned specialty foodservice distributor
• Ascension Paper Products – Paper/ Plastic Supplies
Supporting local vendors allows us to support Louisiana. Success is better when shared.
Q: What is your big focus right now?
Beyond taking care of our employees, serving great food and running our existing restaurants, Copeland’s of New Orleans and Cheesecake Bistro, we are focusing on our new developments. Batch 13 Biscuits, Bonuts and Bowls (moving to downtown Baton Rouge in February), Mirepoix Event Catering; Nolé, and in late Fall we are opening our newest restaurant on Spanish Plaza in New Orleans – more details to come.
Q: What is the best advice you ever received?
In Jim Sullivan’s Fundamentals, “Tough on standards, easy on people.”
Q: What success have you had in the last year?
We launched the catering division Mirepoix Event Catering, and opened Nolé Restaurant. Our team stayed focused, shifted the plan when needed, and we had a great year at Copeland’s of New Orleans and Cheesecake Bistro, corporate and franchises.
Q: What has been the biggest benefit of being a POWER member?
The connectivity of being surrounded by people that get it! While we’re all in different businesses, the personal strength, sacrifice, and heart that goes into what we do–its’s relatable.
Q: What does POWER mean to you?
Power to me means I have the joy of influencing people. I have had the privilege to help, share, inspire, and watch people come in at entry levels of our company and then take over restaurants, run department, and continuously professionally and personally grow. Their families become our family.