Cousin’s Maine Lobster Shark Tank Update: The Rise to National Fame

When Cousins Maine Lobster rolled into the Shark Tank, they brought with them the fresh taste of Maine’s seas and a business idea that was about to make waves. Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis, the cousins behind the venture, were seeking an investment to fuel their dream of bringing their lobster-loaded dishes from the East Coast to the rest of America.

Their pitch? A simple yet compelling one: to expand their food truck business into a nationwide franchise, serving up authentic Maine lobster rolls and seafood delights. What followed was a Shark Tank moment that not only changed their lives but also left seafood lovers across the country eagerly awaiting a taste of Maine, wherever they might be. Let’s dive into the update on Cousins Maine Lobster since that memorable pitch.

Key Takeaways

  • Cousins Maine Lobster succeeded on Shark Tank with a compelling pitch to expand their Maine lobster food truck business into a nationwide franchise, gaining investment from Barbara Corcoran.
  • Since their Shark Tank appearance, Cousins Maine Lobster has significantly grown from 1 truck to 32 and from 0 to over 20 franchise locations across the United States, maintaining the authenticity and quality of their Maine lobster offerings.
  • The cousins effectively utilized social media and focused on customer experiences to build a strong, loyal brand, turning first-time visitors into repeat customers and brand advocates.
  • They overcame challenges in supply chain management, franchise model development, and menu diversification by focusing on quality, sustainability, and customer satisfaction, proving resilience is key to scaling up without compromising core values.
  • Cousins Maine Lobster’s expansion into a nationwide franchise demonstrates the impact of Shark Tank on innovative businesses and serves as an inspiration for entrepreneurs aiming to scale their ventures with passion, planning, and strategic partnerships.
  • Their story is not just a business lesson but a testament to bringing a local culinary experience to the national stage, creating a community for seafood lovers, and leveraging digital platforms for brand growth and customer reach.

The Cousins’ Shark Tank Pitch

When Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis rolled into the Shark Tank, armed with their passion for Maine lobster and a dream to take their food truck business nationwide, they caught the attention of seafood lovers and entrepreneurs alike. Their pitch to the Sharks wasn’t just about expanding a business; it was about bringing authentic Maine lobster rolls to people all over the country. With their undeniable enthusiasm and well-prepared business plan, the cousins from Maine were ready to make a splash.

The room was charged with anticipation as they unfolded their vision for Cousins Maine Lobster. Offering a taste of their signature lobster rolls, the duo was banking on their belief that quality ingredients and a taste of Maine’s finest would convince one of the Sharks to bite. The cousins laid out their plans for franchising, with a keen focus on maintaining the quality and authenticity of their Maine roots, something they stressed was non-negotiable.

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The Sharks, known for their hard-hitting questions and keen business acumen, were impressed with the cousins’ passion for their product and their detailed business model. Investment proposals started swirling, signaling the start of a bidding war that fans of Shark Tank know all too well.

With their well-received pitch, Sabin and Jim stood ready to navigate the waters of negotiation, hopes high for not just any deal, but the right deal that would catapult Cousins Maine Lobster into the national spotlight. Interest from the Sharks peaked as the cousins demonstrated their dedication to quality and a clear vision for the future, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats, eager to see which Shark would take the bait.

Expanding from Food Trucks to Nationwide Franchise

Cousins Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis took their lobster roll food truck, Cousins Maine Lobster, from a local favorite to a nationwide franchise phenomenon after their appearance on Shark Tank. Their pitch, infused with passion for Maine lobster and a sharp business plan, caught the attention of the Sharks, especially Barbara Corcoran, who recognized the brand’s potential for nationwide success.

Following their successful pitch, the cousins embarked on a journey to expand beyond their single food truck. With Barbara’s investment and guidance, Cousins Maine Lobster began franchising, a move that significantly accelerated their growth. They’ve managed not only to open multiple franchises across the United States but also to maintain the authenticity and quality of their Maine roots, ensuring each lobster roll served is as delicious and genuine as the ones that earned them fame.

Year Number of Trucks Franchise Locations
Initially 1 0
After Shark Tank 32 20+

Their expansion strategy also included diversifying their menu offerings while keeping Maine lobster the star of the show. From lobster tacos and quesadillas to traditional lobster bisque and rolls, the menu appeals to a broad audience. Their commitment to sustainably sourced lobster showcases their dedication to both their home state’s traditions and the environment.

As Cousins Maine Lobster continues to grow, it serves as a testament to the impact of Shark Tank on innovative businesses. The cousins’ story inspires entrepreneurs everywhere, proving that with the right mix of passion, planning, and partnership, scaling a food truck to a thriving nationwide franchise is entirely possible.

Building a Brand and Customer Loyalty

After their Shark Tank appearance, Cousins Maine Lobster not only secured a deal but also captivated a national audience. They didn’t just focus on expanding their fleet of food trucks or opening new locations; they dedicated a significant amount of effort into building a strong, recognizable brand.

One of their initial steps was harnessing the power of social media. They knew their story was compelling, a tale of two cousins with a shared dream, and they leveraged it beautifully across platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Each post, filled with tantalizing images of their dishes and behind-the-scenes glimpses of their operations, helped forge a deeper connection with their audience.

But it wasn’t just online buzz they were after. Cousins Maine Lobster prioritized customer experience above all, understanding that to build loyalty, they had to offer more than just delicious food. They focused on creating memorable experiences for every visitor, whether it was through their friendly service, community events, or even the way they shared the origins of their dishes. This approach turned first-time visitors into repeat customers and, eventually, loyal fans who’d eagerly advocate for the brand.

Furthermore, they introduced customer feedback mechanisms on their website and at their service points. By actively seeking out and listening to feedback, they were able to make adjustments that resonated well with their customers, further strengthening their bond.

Through these thoughtful steps towards building their brand and nurturing customer loyalty, Cousins Maine Lobster didn’t just aim for short-term success. They were crafting a legacy that would keep people coming back for that authentic Maine lobster experience, regardless of how far from Maine they were.

Overcoming Challenges and Scaling Up

Facing challenges head-on and scaling up operations are common themes for businesses featured on Shark Tank, and Cousins Maine Lobster is no exception. After their successful pitch, cousins Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis had to navigate the waters of rapid expansion while keeping their brand’s authenticity intact. They knew that expanding their beloved Maine lobster experience across the United States would not be a cakewalk.

Addressing Supply Chain Hurdles

One of the first significant challenges they encountered was managing the supply chain. Ensuring a consistent supply of fresh Maine lobster to various parts of the country was crucial. They forged strong relationships with lobster fishermen back in Maine, emphasizing sustainability and quality. By doing so, they not only guaranteed a steady seafood supply but also supported their local community.

Franchise Model Development

Adopting a franchise model came with its set of obstacles. The cousins had to attract the right franchise partners who shared their passion and vision. They meticulously crafted a franchise training program and established rigorous standards to preserve the authenticity and quality of the experience at every location. This strategic move required a considerable time investment but was essential for maintaining brand integrity.

Menu Diversification

While their Maine lobster offerings were a hit, they recognized the need to diversify the menu to cater to different preferences and increase appeal. They carefully expanded their menu to include other seafood options and sides, ensuring each addition met their high-quality standards. This approach not only attracted a broader audience but also enhanced the customer experience.

Through strategic planning, relentless pursuit of quality, and a focus on customer satisfaction, Cousins Maine Lobster successfully overcame these challenges, setting a benchmark for scaling up in the food industry without compromising on their core values. Their journey from a single food truck to a nationwide franchise demonstrates the power of resilience and innovation in the face of expansion challenges.

Reaching Seafood Lovers Across the Country

For fans of Shark Tank and aficionados of great food, the journey of Cousins Maine Lobster isn’t just a business lesson; it’s a savory narrative that spans from coast to coast. After their appearance on Shark Tank, Cousins Maine Lobster, helmed by cousins Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis, embarked on a mission to bring the taste of Maine seafood to the entire United States. Their strategy? Expand beyond their original food truck into a sprawling franchise network.

The move to franchise wasn’t a simple decision. It required meticulous planning and a deep understanding of their brand. Still, with Barbara Corcoran’s guidance and their unyielding resolve, the cousins started to look for franchise partners who were as passionate about seafood and quality service as they were. They weren’t just selling lobster rolls; they were offering an authentic Maine dining experience, complete with the charm and quality one would expect from a quaint New England eatery.

The expansion process introduced new layers to the Cousins Maine Lobster story. They didn’t just open new locations; they crafted a community for seafood lovers. Each franchise, while adhering to the core values of Cousins Maine Lobster, brought a local flavor, making every visit unique yet familiar. This adaptability became one of their strongest suits, allowing them to tap into various markets with a model that promises consistency in quality and experience.

In terms of reaching their audience, Cousins Maine Lobster leveraged social media to the hilt. Their Instagram and Facebook pages became showcases of mouth-watering dishes and happy customer testimonials, creating a digital word-of-mouth that propelled their brand even further.

As the cousins navigated the challenges of rapid expansion, they never lost sight of the essence that got them started: a love for Maine lobster and a desire to share it with the world. Their journey from a single food truck to a celebrated national franchise is a testament to their commitment and hard work, continuing to delight seafood enthusiasts everywhere without losing the authentic Maine touch that made them famous.


The journey of Cousins Maine Lobster from a single food truck to a thriving national franchise is nothing short of remarkable. Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis have navigated the challenges of expansion with a clear vision and unwavering dedication to authenticity and quality. Their story is a powerful reminder of how passion, coupled with smart strategies and a focus on customer experience, can transform a simple idea into a beloved brand. As they continue to serve up delicious Maine lobster across the U.S., their legacy is not just in the dishes they serve but in the community they’ve built and the entrepreneurial spirit they embody. For seafood lovers and aspiring entrepreneurs alike, Cousins Maine Lobster stands as a beacon of success, authenticity, and the enduring appeal of a well-made lobster roll.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did Cousins Maine Lobster achieve success after appearing on Shark Tank?

Cousins Maine Lobster gained success following their Shark Tank appearance by expanding their food truck business into a nationwide franchise. With Barbara Corcoran’s investment and guidance, they focused on maintaining authenticity, increasing their menu offerings, and building a strong brand presence on social media.

What strategies did Cousins Maine Lobster use to build their brand?

They utilized social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to share their story, prioritized customer experience to create memorable visits, and actively sought and listened to customer feedback to enhance loyalty and encourage repeat business.

What challenges did Cousins Maine Lobster face while expanding?

They encountered challenges in managing the supply chain, ensuring a consistent supply of fresh Maine lobster, attracting the right franchise partners, maintaining their brand’s authenticity across locations, and diversifying their menu to cater to varying preferences.

How did Cousins Maine Lobster maintain the authenticity of their brand through expansion?

Cousins Maine Lobster maintained their brand’s authenticity by forging strong relationships with lobster fishermen in Maine, developing a franchise training program, establishing rigorous standards for franchise partners, and carefully expanding their menu to maintain high-quality standards.

What role did franchise partners play in Cousins Maine Lobster’s expansion?

Franchise partners were crucial in Cousins Maine Lobster’s nationwide expansion. They were selected for sharing the brand’s passion and vision, bringing a local flavor to each location while adhering to the core values and quality standards established by Cousins Maine Lobster.