2023 Wrapped

2023 Wrapped

This past year was a big one for Luke’s, as we celebrated wins within our business, our team, and in our communities. We are very proud of the nearly 50 teammates who were promoted, the 31 new jobs we created, and the three new shacks we opened across the country! 

But perhaps the most exciting award bestowed on us this year was being voted the Best Lobster Roll in Portland, ME, by residents of our hometown city! We are honored to carry this title, and will of course continue to shout it from the rooftops from East Coast to West Coast.

Making Lobster More Inclusive
After an exciting first season with Lift All Boats in 2022, we grew our student lobstering mentorship program from 4 students to 18 students this year, all of whom now have their own lobster license, buoy colors, and traps as commercial fishermen. These hardworking young adults came from 5 high schools in the greater Portland area to learn all about lobstering for 10 weeks this summer, and were able to sell their catch to our Portland Pier restaurant after each trip on F/V Sea Smoke. We’re excited to continue growing this program in 2024, and welcome back some of our lobstering superstars to continue their education on the water. 

In our shacks, we continued seeking out diverse suppliers and began a weekly pop-up in our Midtown East shack with Real Mother Shuckers, who shucked fresh oysters during happy hour on 43rd Street in Manhattan all summer long. In our Grand Central and Portland Pier locations, we served up a new cocktail, Sea Smoke, named after our Lift All Boats fishing vessel, with a dollar from every drink going towards the LAB project. The key ingredient is Sorel, a liqueur created by Jackie Summers, the first Black licensed distiller in the US, giving Sea Smoke a fragrant scent and vibrant color from this hibiscus-based spirit. In Seattle, we poured Metier, from a local Black-owned brewery, to add to our ongoing list of other Black-owned beers. 

In Maine, we took a huge step in improving the work and lives of our seafood company teammates by launching a free, onsite language lab. A majority of our team members hail from different countries and natively speak French, Portuguese, Lingala, Spanish, Khmer and more. Many are looking to learn or improve their English skills. We partnered with Maine Adult Education to chase down grant funding to hire English instructors, purchase laptops and textbooks, and carve out space in our production facility where any team member and their family can learn English for free. This will help them both advance their careers and navigate the rest of their lives in Maine. 

Growth in Our Business
This year was about growth for Luke’s as we opened new shacks around the country. We kicked off the year with our first location in the Pacific Northwest, just a stone’s throw away from the iconic Pike Place Market in Seattle. To date, we’ve seen tremendous growth in this West Coast gem, with a super strong management team in place, and a seafood-loving community who has welcomed us with open arms. Just a couple of months later, we opened our second Las Vegas location, right outside the New York-New York Hotel & Casino on The Strip, in our first ever shipping container-turned-lobster shack, made right in our Maine steel fabrication shop. To add to our New England footprint, we opened a seasonal shack in Newport, Rhode Island on Bowen’s Wharf, serving up our Maine-style lobster rolls among an audience of lobster roll connoisseurs.
We debuted our newest grocery product, Lobster Ravioli, in fall of 2023, just in time for the holiday season and for some weeknight decadence. Adding to our roster of grocery stores, we were thrilled to launch in Big Y and Coborn's!

Protecting our Environment
In 2022, we took on an extensive, first-of-its-kind carbon footprint assessment of our full supply chain, and discovered that our lobster products generated 2.89 lbs of emissions for every pound of lobster we buy (conventionally-farmed beef has 60 lbs of emissions per lb of protein). This year, after many improvements based on our assessment, we were able to decrease our carbon emissions by 10% by buying a full year’s worth of renewable energy in all the properties where we control our electricity, by using more local bait, and by continuing to use more efficient equipment. We’ll continue to make small and large changes to our process and look forward to some exciting announcements in 2024.
That’s not all we did to improve our impact on the environment — this fall we began a trial with Tanbark, a new Maine-based company who produces packaging that’s made with sustainable Maine wood fiber and is completely backyard compostable. We hope to replace all our current packaging in 2024 to rely less on plastics or unsustainable paper. Meanwhile, we’ve also swapped in more reusable dishware for our dine in guests to cut waste altogether. For example, we decreased our usage of disposable soup cups by over 40% this year. On the local front, we were awarded the Maine Water Environment Association’s Pretreatment Excellence Award at our Saco, Maine seafood facility, for our innovative new process to pre-filter our wastewater, a huge improvement that will reduce carbon footprint and stress on our local water treatment plant. This led to a 48% reduction in dissolved waste in the water leaving our building. 

In Our Communities
At a B Corp like Luke’s, our team is not just the folks who work here; it’s the entire community that surrounds us, and we prioritize giving back to that community. In Maine, we celebrated Cambodian New Year in April with our team and Khmer Maine, we celebrated Carnaval right in our backyard in Portland in March, and with our newly renovated and redesigned food truck, made our way to private and public events around the state, including the Thompson’s Point Summer Concert Series. We participated in events across the country, from Governor’s Ball in NYC, Ballard Seafood Festival in Seattle, Newport Chowder Festival, Boston Seafood Festival, and more.

Additional community efforts spanned from an Earth Day beach cleanup in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, to selling rainbow lobster pins in all of our shacks in June to support SAGE, which advocates for LGBTQ+ elders. This fall, we raised money for the Port Clyde, Maine community who were affected by a tragic fire, just down the street from where we buy our lobster, as well as the families of victims impacted by the Lewiston, Maine shooting, at a Community Day event at Portland Pier that brought together our “small town state.”
On a lighter note, we had the chance to collab with our friends at Sweetgreen, serving up the tastiest lobster salad that lucky Bostonians were treated to all summer long. Also this summer, we had a visitor from a 1-in-2-million blue lobster, delivered right to our processing plant. Fear not, we set Blue Ivy Carter-Knowles free back into Casco Bay. Aside from lobster, we served up Dungeness crab rolls this year, first in Seattle and then nationwide, and we’re currently offering snow crab nationwide for a limited time. 

We are so thankful for all of these exciting projects and to work with such a dynamic team day in and day out, but we know that none of this would be possible without our seafood-loving guests who choose to come back for that lobster roll time and time again. We’re grateful for you all, and can’t wait to continue serving up the world’s best seafood in 2024. Cheers to another year in the books! 

🦞The Luke’s Lobster Team🦞