Luke Holden – Wicked Lobstah: Vertical Integration and the Luke’s Lobster Success Story

Luke Holden decided to commit to a career in finance when his parents told him that if he continued working on lobster boats in his hometown of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, they wouldn’t pay for college. But he never lost his passion for the family trade of lobstering. While on Wall Street, Luke quickly discovered that lobster rolls outside his home state were- to put it mildly- a disappointment. He saved up some seed money, went halves with his father on their first “shack” location, and Luke’s Lobster, a 10% entrepreneurial venture, was born- and soon became an international craze, with locations in a dozen cities around the world- and Maine. Holden- and other enthusiastic fans of Luke’s Lobster- attribute the runaway success of his company to their commitment to vertical integration: the relatively uncommon practice of a single company overseeing multiple stages of production of goods (in this case, the fishing, processing, and delivering of lobster, followed by its preparation and sale at restaurant locations). Having a direct hand in where his lobsters come from has allowed Holden to practice respectful stewardship of the seas and strict quality and environmental controls on his entire operation, something that has earned Luke’s Lobster B Corporation certification.

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