September 27, 2018
Emilee Shuler | Marketing & HR Assistant | Published by Crow Shields Bailey
“Born here, been here, still here.” David Rasp takes pride in being a homegrown, local business owner. On November 6, 1998, he opened his original Heroes Sports Bar & Grille location at 273 Dauphin St. in Downtown Mobile. Previously, this address had been home to his own favorite sports bar, Big Kahuna’s Sports Café. Having no experience in the restaurant industry, Rasp simply wanted to recreate Big Kahuna’s after they closed with a small menu of bar food.
As time went on and Rasp began to find his footing, the menu grew as customers expressed their ideas, which eventually became essential Heroes favorites. For instance, employees of Bender Shipyard were responsible for bringing about the shrimp poboy! Rasp began to realize that in order to be successful he had to view everything from the perspective of the guests, even the smallest details. He also realized the importance of great food at a great price.
Moving On Up
Eight years after opening the original Heroes location, Rasp opened The Royal Scam in order to serve hotel guests along Royal Street. The Scam is a casual fine dining restaurant that aims to please many different tastes. They serve a variety of delicious entrees, ranging from Filet Mignon to Shrimp and Grits. This year, they won the Nappie Award for Best Gumbo!
Heroes West Mobile opened in June 2011. Between 2016 and 2017, the West Mobile location went from the third best seller of all three stores to the first following extensive renovations. The renovations addressed parking, drainage, and general aesthetics. Heroes West Mobile is geared towards families, college students, and those who know and love the downtown location, but live too far away to frequent it.
The Heroes menu is now very broad with a wide variety of delicious choices. It has come a long way from just a small menu with bar food!
As with any restaurant, the biggest obstacle David Rasp has faced is the ongoing challenge of staffing. Turnover rates for restaurants are notoriously high. Rasp has found that the best solution to combat this issue is to create an environment where employees like to work. A few of the things that keep his employees happy include rewards, benefits, and PTO plans for hourly personnel.
Another challenge faced by Rasp and other local restaurants is the influx of corporate chains. For so many years, he was fighting these battles alone. Now, he has a fantastic upper management team that includes Jessica McGee and Richard True. While Rasp has great teams at each individual store, he relies heavily on Jessica and Richard’s help to ensure that all three stores run smoothly.
Regardless of the differences in atmosphere or client base, each store has an employee-friendly culture and a team that puts the guests first. In order to accomplish this, management hires the best people in the business and works hard to retain them. Rasp feels that he has excellent team players who wear multiple hats, which creates a dynamic work environment.
Being involved in and giving back to the community that has helped make him successful is also very important to Rasp. He supports many local charities and organizations, such as Ronald McDonald House, Camp Rap-A-Hope, American Cancer Society, and Mobile Arts Council.
Being on the Gulf Coast, Rasp emphasizes the fact that we are blessed with an abundance of fresh seafood. He also feels blessed to be embraced by the community. Over the years, the guests have not only framed the current menus of his restaurants, but also the atmospheres and cultures individual to each store. The original Heroes location has many Mobile sports-related photos and memorabilia lining the walls. Rasp says that he and his stores are “so Mobile, it’s crazy!”
Relationship with CSB
David Rasp and Jessica McGee began their relationship with CSB through our Businesses Getting Results (BGR) program. While he already knew our Managing Shareholder, Kenny Crow, Rasp says that his involvement in BGR was one of the main reasons he decided to hire CSB. His favorite takeaway from those lessons was to work “on your business versus in your business.” He says that BGR pushed him to be better at delegation and many other necessary elements of running a business.
According to Rasp, “CSB is not just a great CPA firm; they offer so much more.” He says Shareholders Kenny Crow and Ryan Damrich are “great advisors” and La Nette Caskey’s QuickBooks training has been vital to the operation of his businesses. He is grateful to have a great relationship with many of the CSB team members. Rasp also says that he admires Kenny Crow’s “coach-like mentality” and he likes to think that he, too, possesses that mentality when it comes to running his businesses.
It is safe to say that David Rasp has created something special for the community. This is apparent for many reasons, including the fact that the people of Mobile have voted Heroes Sports Bar & Grille Best Sports Bar multiple times, and The Royal Scam has won multiple Nappie Awards for various categories. It is also apparent when you realize the close relationships Rasp and his team members hold with the regular guests. Some frequent the restaurants every day, some every weekend during football season. No matter which restaurant you visit, you will likely leave in a better mood than when you arrived. For more information, visit www.heroessportsbar.com or www.royalscammobile.com.