6: Luke's Lobster Founders, Luke Holden & Ben Conniff

Luke Holden (left) and Ben Conniff (right), founders of Luke's Lobster

Luke Holden (left) and Ben Conniff (right), founders of Luke's Lobster

Luke Holden & Ben Conniff started a restaurant in the East Village with $30,000 and one product in 2009. Since then, they've expanded into Boston, Chicago and even locations in Japan. And the focus is still on serving a fresh, simple lobster without the high price tag. 

In 2009, Luke was leaving a job in finance and Ben was looking for a job in the food industry. "Entry level kitchen jobs" is how Ben describes the job he was looking for. They ended up finding each other through Craigslist and opened the doors to their first inglorious shop in October. With 8 seats, no restroom, and no air conditioning, they earned a profit on their small investment within the first month. We talk to them about sketchy NYC handymen, marketing their first shops, and managing a growing workforce.

Luke's Lobster is probably our most interesting "blueprint", as an episode, so far. Two guys with a simple idea and $30,000 enter one of the more challenging industries in NYC, and come out with a $10M/year+ business. 

If you want to see the press release that got 500 people in the door on day one, here it is