When recent college grads Luke Holden and Ben Conniff opened a hole-in-the-wall, 200-square-foot lobster shack in New York City's East Village in the fall of 2009, they were wholly unprepared.
The economy was still struggling and neither Holden, a 25-year-old banking analyst, nor Conniff, a 24-year-old freelance food writer, had any restaurant-management experience. The two had recently met through Craigslist and gave themselves a two-month timeframe to open their shack, which they dubbed "Luke's Lobster."
"We were very naive out of the gate," Holden, the company's CEO, recalls. "We were just a couple of inexperienced, hungry, can't-say-no, going-to-find-the-answer-on-Google-type individuals."