On A Roll
The PEAK Singapore|November 2020
How Luke Holden grew a single lobster roll shack into a multimillion-dollar, vertically integrated seafood business.
Weets Goh

While many believe emotion hinders sound decision-making, it can very often be the impetus to a successful business. In the case of Luke Holden, homesickness prompted the Maine native to open the first Luke's Lobster in New York's vibrant East Village back in 2009. His concept was simple: approachable prices, a casual setting and good lobster – light on the mayo – on a toasted bun. It was an instant hit, with lines snaking around the block a common sight.

“I was doing investment banking at the same time. I left my business partner Ben Conniffand my father, Jeff [at the outlet], at seven in the morning and went to work. I didn’t hear from them until one in the afternoon because of how busy it would get. We were making people happy and having fun. The first month, we had strong sales and just so many good reactions. I was happy to go to the shack after my day job to close and even work weekends,” shares Holden, 35, who realised very early on that this was his calling. After the second New York location opened in May 2010, he quit his finance job to run the business.

In 11 years, Luke's Lobster grew from a single small shack into a fully vertically integrated operation with a lobster processing plant and 37 outlets around the world, with the latest in Singapore.

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