Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nate Morsches, President of RPG (Restaurant, Pub & Games), located in Lawrence, KS, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

RPG stands for Restaurant, Pub & Games. We have a chef-prepared menu, a full cocktail bar, and over 1000 board games to play while you eat and drink. Our customers are of all ages and demographics, but primarily young professionals who are craving community.

Tell us about yourself

My grandfather, Patricio Pascua, an immigrant from the Philippines, is my inspiration. During WW2, when the Japanese were occupying the Philippines, a group of soldiers came into his fishing village and murdered his father and brother. My grandfather took his fiancee (my now-grandmother) and protected her and her family in the mountains for months until they stowed away on a boat to Hawaii. He fought in the United States Navy and then the Air Force. Once his family was finally safe, he gave himself to building community - we would have large parties every Sunday night with hundreds of people, including food, drinks, singing, and dancing. We'd invite relatives, community members, and even people off the streets. He inspires me every day to continue growing my business, whose mission is to build community, just like he did.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I believe our biggest accomplishment, having opened 6 months before the Pandemic started, was surviving through the Pandemic as a restaurant. I don't believe I've ever done anything harder. Not to mention, when the Pandemic started, one of my employees posted online (without knowing I read it) that she had just made a yogurt last 2 meals. At that point, we had to change our pay model. We now pay no less than $15/hr for all employees, and this was done sacrificially during the entire 2 years of the height of the Pandemic. That made things harder - worth it, but harder.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The hardest thing is our burden for the mission, which includes serving our community and caring for our staff. The problem is that I also have to execute good fiduciary responsibility for my business partners. If I could, I would spend every dollar to accomplish our mission of building community, but balancing the financial needs of the business makes it hard to ever feel satisfied. It always feels like we could have done more.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. I'm convinced that there's only one difference between successful people and unsuccessful people. It's not that they're smarter or stronger, or better. It's that they didn't quit, and neither should you.
  2. Your staff is everything to you. If you don't care for their needs, not only is it morally wrong to ignore this responsibility, but things also have a way of coming around - if you treat them poorly, they will perform poorly, and your business will suffer.
  3. Never panic. There is not a single situation in which panicking makes anything better. You will face situations that make you want to panic, but you must resist that temptation because people are counting on you. Keep a cool head and continue making good decisions; everyone will reap the benefits.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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