Episode #38: Lobster Passion Project Turned into Millions: Luke Holden
New podcast is up with my friend Luke Holden: the CEO and founder of Luke’s Lobster! Tune in to learn all about how Luke launched Luke’s Lobster in 2009 in NYC and now—almost 10 years later—is generating $60M in sales!
Luke was born in Cape Elizabeth, Maine and is a third generation lobsterman. After graduating from Georgetown University in 2007, Luke went into a career in investment banking, making a good salary. In the summer of 2009, he found himself missing home and went in search of a lobster roll. To his dismay, every lobster roll available was overpriced, drowning in mayo, or diluted with celery. Realizing there was a hole in the market, Luke decided to take a risk and open his very own 200SF lobster shack in October 2009, right in the midst of the recession.
He found his partner, Ben Coniff, on Craigslist and he convinced his dad to be a 50-50 investor. Luke’s dad borrowed against his 401K and Luke had $15,000 in savings—a combined $45,000 investment. Fast forward almost 10 years, Luke now has 29 locations across the country. They have shacks in NYC, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, San Fran, and Maine. They also have 13 shacks in Japan and 2 in Taiwan! They are the primary lobster holder for Whole Foods. So if you shop there, you can find their lobster rolls!
If you haven’t heard or tried of Luke’s Lobster, I highly recommend you do! They serve classic, authentic, and delicious lobster rolls. Most importantly, the fish they are serving come straight from their seafood company in Maine, ensuring traceable and sustainable seafood.
For instance, I live in Philadelphia. If I go to a Luke’s Lobster location and order a lobster roll, I know for a fact that the lobster I am eating was harvested and sourced directly from the Atlantic Ocean only 48 hours prior!
Fast forward almost 10 years, he has had a remarkable journey. Johnno tells us about both his setbacks and awesome comebacks, such as his role on Disney’s hit show Raven’s Home, getting called out to two Saturday Night Live auditions, and upcoming Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes this fall! Not to mention, Johnno is also the most incredible impersonator and has been featured on Good Day LA (check out his TikTok account where he has 375K followers and nails impersonations of well-known celebrities such as Vince Vaughan, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Hanks, and many more). I’m so excited to continue to watch Johnno kill it in LA!