Both Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis, cousins and co-founders of Cousins Maine Lobster, fell into the food business by accident. Lomac, who was working in real estate at the time, said the plan was to start a Cousins Maine Lobster food truck as a side business with the goal of making $10,000 a year. Then ABC’s “Shark Tank” came calling, and the rest is, well, history. The two signed a deal with Barbara Corcoran on the reality show and now have 18 food trucks in 11 cities nationwide, shipping all of their lobster from Maine. They also opened a restaurant this summer on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. While on track to generate $15 million in sales this year, Lomac said he and Tselikis are working on a new apparel line. Lomac recently spoke with the Business Journal about his work, giving back and lessons learned from his childhood.
Describe your morning routine.
Maybe 60 percent of the time I’m in Los Angeles. The other 40 percent I’m traveling. Assuming I’m in Los Angeles, I wake up, and I jump in the shower. I change, and I’m gone in 10 minutes. I get to the office around 7:30 a.m. I don’t cook at home. I’ll go out and get a coffee and something from Starbucks, a muffin. Then, just come in and begin working right away.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
We have morning meetings. We have a franchise coordinator here. We’ll go over news and what’s going on with the franchises. We have a social media director now who handles all the social media. We go over everything with her. We have a public relations director, then just miscellaneous things that I’ll go over with my partner, Jim, my cousin. From there, I get into my personal work. There’s really no end in sight. We work a lot, 10- to 15-hour days pretty much every day, but we’ve been doing that for a couple of years, and that’s the secret. People always want to know why are you successful. We really work hard, and we care about what we do.
How do you maintain work/life balance?
This last couple of years it’s been a moderate challenge to maintain that balance, but we make sure that if one of us is getting burned out more than the other to make sure they take time out. Vacation, a night out, whatever it may be, working out, getting outside. I like to surf. I like to go to the beach. I like to turn my cell phone off and unplug. I think family is also a huge part, having the support of your family, spending time with them. I don’t have any children of my own, but I have a lot of nieces and nephews. They bring a lot of joy to my life. We also have a charity that we’ve started, so that also keeps you grounded.
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