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Luke’s Lobster: bringing a brand to life through music

What does it take to kick-start a global food brand?

New York’s Luke’s Lobster restaurant

In the case of Luke’s Lobster, nothing but an unwavering belief in the craftsmanship of lobster rolls, and a really good Craigslist ad.

This was how third-generation lobsterman, Luke Holden, and food writer, Ben Conniff, came to cross paths back in 2009.

A decade later, you’ll find Ben and Luke running restaurants across the United States, Japan and Taiwan – still with that unapologetic commitment to quality and authenticity.

At Luke’s Lobster, every element of the business is handpicked to ensure only the best for customers – and choosing a music supplier was no different.  

THE PROBLEM: swinging’ music (but not the good kind)

  • Disjointed music genres

  • Little music control for staff

  • No ‘human’ element

“We aim to give guests a taste of the Maine Way,” says Ben Conniff, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Luke’s Lobster.

“This means genuine friendly interaction in a relaxed, casual setting, where customers can enjoy premium food at an extremely affordable price. We’re an opportunity for an everyday celebration.”

However, nothing kills a celebration – or relaxed mood – quicker than an uncooperative music soundtrack.

“Our previous music system gave me no control,” explains Ben. “If I ever wanted to hear more than one music style in a given time period, there would be wild swings from one genre to another… someone hadn’t curated songs that flowed well together.”

This disjoint wasn’t just between the music selection and the room mood.

“There was no human element to our previous service. No one was listening to my thoughts on our brand, and helping me achieve the specific sound we needed.”

For both Ben and Luke, it was an unnecessary reminder of why business background music matters. As Ben frankly puts it: “it was a complete experience killer”.

A spread at Luke’s Lobster Seaport

THE SOLUTION: A music soundtrack curated by people, for people  

  • Playlists tailored to each location    

  • Easy apps for on-site music control
  • Responsive (human!) customer care

There’s a hundred things on your to-do list when running a business – and finding the right music solution is rarely on top.  As tempting as pre-made playlists and budget services may be, the limitations of these solutions quickly become evident.

“It’s not an algorithm,” explains Ben. “The big difference with Ambie is that humans listen to what I want our sound to be. The team looks at lists I’ve made of songs that fit our brand. Then they physically curate playlists around these that achieve the vibe I’m looking for.”

At Ambie, we match music to your trading patterns, but understand there are changes you can’t plan for too. This is why our apps allow managers to perfect their music when on-site.

“By toggling the energy level of the music up and down, it also helps dictate the flow of the experience, from a fast-paced lunch to a super laid-back happy hour,” says Ben. “It’s not broad genres of music that go careening from one feel to another.”

This seamless playback does more than just improve the customer’s experience.

“Our employees were sick of having to rush to the controls and skip songs that were off-brand or annoying. Now they can simply go about their day and watch guests enjoy the music.”

From the start, Luke’s Lobster’s success has been anchored in an uncompromising attention to detail. Now, this finesse is evident in their curation as well as their crustaceans.

“Our music now helps tell the story of who we are as a brand.”

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