For our latest Hoyapreneur profile, we are eager to hear the story of Hoyapreneur and Maine Lobsterman Luke Holden to hear how he took a passion for Lobstering and turned it into a multi-million dollar restaurant chain bringing a taste of Maine to foodies nationwide.
1. You're from Maine so you must have grown up with Lobsters, but how did you get the idea to start a chain of Lobster shacks?
One Sunday afternoon, sitting at my desk during my analyst program as an Investment Banker, I was missing home. To help cure the feeling, I went online looking for a lobster roll. I could not find an authentic, affordable high quality lobster roll, so I started to build a business plan (around the skills I learned in Entrepreneurship class) to solve for this problem!
2. Sustainability is a key principle of Luke's Lobster. How do you create a clean and sustainable supply chain?
We source our seafood directly from resources that have been certified sustainable from third party organizations. We then control the entire cold chain from ocean to plate to ensure quality and as smart and minimal of a carbon footprint is achieved as possible.
3. You've recently opened stores overseas? What is the process of entering a foreign market and how have you built a sustainable supply chain across all your stores to guarantee freshness?
We have now opened six shacks in Japan! It is a very successful market for us. Like all new markets, we ensure that we understand who the customer is, how they dine, what they expect to pay, etc., and tailor the Luke’s experience to their needs. In all our build-outs we use reclaimed building supplies and always ensure that we can manage the cold chain in a way that ensures we can deliver the best quality Luke’s experience.
4. As the only lobsterman that we are aware of to have graduated Georgetown, what do you say to the stereotype that Georgetown is only for future diplomats, Congressmen and aid workers?
Ha! I have classmates that are doing interesting things all around the world in all different fields.
5. What was your favorite class and/or professor during your time on the Hilltop?
My favorite class was Entrepreneurship with Professor Will Finnerty.
6. How has Luke's Lobster grown and what is next for the business?
We now have 25 corporately owned shacks across the US, the largest and highest quality lobster processing company in the US, and 6 licensed shacks in Japan. We plan to continue to grow domestically at a rate of 6-8 new shacks a year and to expand our international license business into new markets.
7. You started Luke's shortly after graduating. How has the entrepreneur alumni network been helpful to you?
The Georgetown Alumni network is incredible. I have found fellow alumni to always be willing to offer support. If one alumni does not know the answer, they likely can point anyone willing to dig deeper in a right direction. I have always been proud to be a Hoya and enjoy helping the next generation.