Cousins Maine Lobster’s path from food truck to multi-million dollar business
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>>MARIA: WELCOME BACK. BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL FAMILY BUSINESS FROM THE WHEELS UP. COUSINS MAINE LOBSTER LAUNCHED AS A FOOD TRUCK IN 2012. SIX YEARS LATER, A MULTIMILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS IS AT HAND. THEY’VE ADDED MORE THAN TWO DOZEN TRUCKS ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND OPENED SEVERAL BRICK AND MORTAR LOCATIONS AS WELL. JOINING ME IS JIM SALIKAS, THE CO-OWNER AND CO-FOUNDER OF COUSINS MAINE LOBSTER. JIM, IT’S GREAT TO SEE YOU.>>THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.>>MARIA: CONGRATULATIONS. I WAS AN EARLY BELIEVER. WE SORT OF WATCHED YOUR BUSINESS GROW THROUGHOUT OUR INTERVIEWS OVER THE YEARS. CONGRATS TO YOU.>>THANK YOU SO MUCH. APPRECIATE IT.>>MARIA: YOU STARTED THIS BUSINESS WITH YOUR COUSIN. WHAT’S DRIVING THIS? HOW HAVE YOU DONE IT? TAKE US BACK AND THROUGH YOUR JOURNEY.>>SURE. IT’S REALLY — IT STARTED AS A PASSION PROJECT. MY COUSIN AND I WERE BOTH FROM MAINE. WE GREW UP THERE. AND WE GREW UP SURROUNDED WITH LOBSTER BAKES WITH OUR FAMILY AND COUSINS. THAT WAS THE NO, SIR TAKE NO, THAT WAS THE NO, SIR NKE NO, THAT WAS THE NO, SIR NOS NO, THAT WAS THE NO, SIR NOSTAO, THAT WAS THE NO, SIR NOSTALGIAO THAT WAS THE NO, SIR NOSTALGIAM THAT WAS THE NO, SIR NOSTALGIAI THAT WAS THE NO, SIR NOSTALGIAE THAT WAS THE NO, SIR NOSTALGIA. IN 2011, WE SAID LET’S COMBINE AND RECREATE OUR CHILDHOOD WITH MAINE LOBSTER BRINGING IT TO PARTS OF THE COUNTRY WHERE IT WASN’T AS ACCESSIBLE. WE SAID LET’S SERVE THE BEST MAINE LOBSTER IN THE WORLD AND WE STARTED WITH ONE FOOD TRUCK IN LOS ANGELES. WE WENT ON SHARK TANK PRETTY EARLY ON. FOR THE LAST FOUR, FIVE YEARS WE’VE BEEN SCALING WITH A FRANCHISE MODEL.>>MARIA: THAT’S INCREDIBLE. HOW DID YOU DO IT? I WALK AROUND NEW YORK CITY SOMETIMES AND SEE THE FOOD TRUCKS. THIS IS A VERY POPULAR WAY TO HAVE LUNCH, TO HAVE YOUR MEALS. TELL US WHAT IT TOOK TO GET THOSE TRUCKS UP AND RUNNING.>>YEAH, WELL, SO, FIRST OF ALL THE FOOD TRUCK INDUSTRY HAS EVOLVED OVER TIME. WE BRING A GOURMET FOOD, A HIGH END DELICACY ITEM AS OTHER TRUCKS HAVE AS WELL. IT’S CHANGING UP PERCEPTIONS OF PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND YOU CAN GET HIGH END FOOD OUT OF A FOOD TRUCK QUICKLY. FOR US, IT WAS UNDERSTANDING YOUR MARKET AND WHERE TO PUT THE TRUCK, YOUR NETWORK AND WHERE IT WILL BE BEST SERVED TO HAVE LUNCHES, DINNERS AND EVENTS. THE BEAUTY OF THE TRUCK IS YOU CAN GO TO THE MARKET. AS LONG AS YOU FINE THE PEOPLE, YOU HAVE AN EXCELLENT PRODUCT AND GREAT SERVICE YOU CAN DO ALL RIGHT.>>MARIA: THERE’S AN ARTICLE IN THE JURY MALL THE JOUY MALL THE JOURNMALL THE JOURNALLL THE JOURNAL ABOUT SMALL BUSINESS BEING UPSET OR AFRAID THAT THE TARIFF SITUATION WILL CUT INTO ANYTHING. IS THE TARIFF SITUATION, IN TERMS OF THE TRADE DISCUSSION, WILL THAT HAVE AN IMPACT ON YOUR BUSINESS?>>I DON’T THINK THERE WILL BE AN IMPACT ON US.>>MARIA: HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO TELL YOUR STORY? WHAT DO WE LEARN FROM THE BOOK?>>FOR US, IT’S AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE OUR LESSONS. THERE’S A LOT OF BOOKS TALKING ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP. FOR US, IT WAS ABOUT SAYING HERE ARE LESSONS WE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY, THINGS WE WISH WE KNEW SIX YEARS AGO BEFORE WE STARTED TO BE ABLE TO TELL PEOPLE THAT ARE READY TO TAKE THE PLUNGE OR PEOPLE THAT ARE IN IT, EXPERIENCING OBSTACLES AND THE WHAT’S NEXT QUESTION.>>MARIA: WILL YOU GO BEYOND LOBSTER?>>WE WON’T GO BEYOND LOBSTER

5 thoughts on “Cousins Maine Lobster’s path from food truck to multi-million dollar business

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