- Location Based Restaurant Name
- Theme and Concept Based Restaurant Name
- The Use Wordplay in your Restaurant Name
- Keep your Restaurant Name Simple
- Make it Recognizable
- Stand out and be Unique
- Avoid Trademarked Restaurant Names
- Make Your Name a Reference
- Ensure your Restaurant Name is Marketable
- Personal Meaning
- DON’T Forget to Target Your Restaurant ‘s Brand
As you make an attempt at starting a restaurant business, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is coming up with a name. This is not a decision to make lightly; a name is something that will sum up your restaurant concept and how it will be received by your restaurant target customer. Of course, there is more to the selection of a restaurant name than that, which is what we will explore in this article. By the end of this, you should have a greater idea of what name to go for with your restaurant.
Location Based Restaurant Name
One way to name your restaurant would be to base it off its location. Now you don’t have to go through the trouble of choosing a perfect location. If your restaurant is placed somewhere memorable, it would be a lot easier to derive a name for it. Doing so also makes it a lot easier for your customers to find and remember your restaurant, which is always a plus. When going for location-based names, be creative and explore different ways of naming based on the location. If you are looking for some examples, here are what you can expect from others:
This used to be known by its former name, Boston Chicken, up until 1995. Although currently headquartered in Golden, Colorado, its origin can be traced to Boston, MA, back in December of 1984. Seattle’s Best Coffee – This famous coffee shop began selling both ice cream and coffee in, you guessed it, Seattle, Washington, back in the year 1969. It now has markets worldwide.
John’s of Bleecker Street
This historic pizzeria started out in 1929 in Manhattan, New York City. Specifically, it was established and is still found on 278 Bleecker Street.
Angela Hartnett at The Connaught
Although now closed, it used to be owned by Gordon Ramsay. Named partially after its chef, it was found in London, specifically inside The Connaught. It ceased operations on September 13, 2007.
South Congress Cafe
Established in 2003, this cafe can be found on South Congress Ave. in Austin, Texas.
Theme and Concept Based Restaurant Name
Basing the name off your restaurant concept is a brilliant move that has worked for multiple restaurants. The more unique the ideas are, the greater the potential for coming up with something memorable. Look through your chosen restaurant cuisine and see if there’s anything there that can provide you with some inspiration. Another thing you can do is take a look at a few examples of successful restaurants with theme or concept-based names. Here are a few:
This is a Star Wars-themed food truck that can be found in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Found in Honolulu, Hawaii, this is a bar that also doubles as a museum featuring memorabilia from both its Hawaiian roots and World War II.
Jade Palace Chinese Restaurant
This restaurant is found in Wappinger Falls, NY. All your Chinese dining, takeout, and delivery needs are sure to be met by Jade Palace Chinese Restaurant.
21 & Cup
Found in Boise, Idaho, this is a fantastic rustic-styled cafe where you can get as much alcohol, coffee, and tea as you like.
The New Great Wall
This family-owned Chinese restaurant was established in 1993 and can be found in 49087 Schoenherr Rd. Shelby TWP.
The Use Wordplay in your Restaurant Name
Being witty with your restaurant’s chosen name is a good way to get people to take notice. Impress them or make them laugh and you can guarantee that their attention is all yours. To be more specific, one way would be the incorporation of puns in the name. Another way is to make use of repeating or rhyming sounds, because of its lighthearted and whimsical nature. Some even go for absurd grammar or alternative spellings, since it makes the regular and mundane seem new and different. Here are a few examples of restaurant names that make proper use of wordplay:
Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus
Located in Lowell, MA, it opened in 2005 and is partnered with Equal Exchange Coffee. Despite this partnership, they also roast their own coffee, branded ‘The Art of Coffee’ as a tribute to Lowell’s art and cultural scene.
Turnip the Beet
This business came to be initially as a meal delivery back in the year 2015. Since then it has evolved into having a full-fledged store, which is located in Avenue Dover, NH.
The Dairy Godmother
Favoring nostalgic treats and frozen custard, this particular restaurant is located at 2310 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA.
This restaurant specializes in ‘hot chicken and cold drinks.’ The physical venue comes with 13 large-screen TVs, as well as a stage for all those live musical performances. It has three different locations around Tennessee.
Wok N’ Roll
Located in Cambridge, MA, it deals with ‘exotic tastes from the far east.’ Customers have a wide range of dishes to choose from, ready to be served to their own doorsteps.
Keep your Restaurant Name Simple
There is often a reason why many restaurants have one-word names. One of those is because keeping it simple is a great way for people to remember it. As enticing as it can be to try and come up with something clever, the chances of overdoing it are just as high. Complexity tends to be less effective with names. Remember that one key to success is having satisfied customers telling their friends and family about their experiences. The loss of word of mouth advertising due to a complicated and difficult to remember name would be devastating. Below are a few examples of simply-named restaurants for your benefit.
Located at 210 Spring Street in SoHo in Manhattan, NY, it was first opened way back in 1996 by Jeremy and Jennifer Marshall.
Alternatively known as ‘Bouchon Bistro,’ this is a French-style establishment with multiple locations. You can find it in New York, Beverly Hills, California, and other places.
This New French restaurant is both owned and run by Daniel Boulud, the longest-reigning four-star chef in New York. It is located on the Upper East Side in Manhattan.
This restaurant chain is well known for their 90’s design and architecture. Their waiting staff are also known to dress up as monks. It was for established in 1992 and is primarily found in London.
Although its full name is Azabu Yukimura, this three-star sushi restaurant in Tokyo is better known by just the last part of its name. It is owed by Jun Yukimura, who opened the restaurant in the year 2000 after spending 25 years as a cook in Kyoto.
Make it Recognizable
As you choose a name, you may want to ensure that it provides your customers with a solid understanding of what establishment they’re about to deal with. Make no mistake about it; your brand message must be clear as day. This is how you make your restaurant’s name undeniably memorable. Select an appropriate and impactful name and you won’t have trouble attracting attention. Memorable names can come in all sorts; here are examples and why they are memorable.
The Old Clam House
Found in San Francisco, CA, is there any doubt as to what it serves to its customers? Deer Park Tavern – Found in Newark, this restaurant has become a staple among the city’s inhabitants. It’s got a simple name and it also references its location, so it can be tough for anyone living in Newark not to find this recognizable in anyway.
Joe’s Stone Crab
It may have opened outposts all over the country, the original Joe’s in Miami is as recognizable as it gets. The stone crabs they serve have also become quite iconic, which only adds to the fame.
Whether anybody likes it or not, burgers and fries are as American as they come. Hudson’s, unfortunately, doesn’t serve fries, but it more than makes up for it with a wide and varied selection of burgers. Their name spells it out and it makes them pretty recognizable.
St. Elmo Steak House
Found in Indianapolis, the fact that this steak house is over a hundred years old is just a part of why it is so easy to recognize. With the name, you get something that’s straight to the point and quite specific about what type of restaurant they are.
Stand out and be Unique
This is where analyzing your competitors comes in handy. You know who they are and what they stand for, so providing what they don’t or cannot will be a much easier task. Coming up with a name that really stands out is hardly a walk in the park. You need to make sure that it sounds brand new, fresh, and just a bit different. As mentioned before, adopting a pun or using clever wordplay can help make your restaurant name special. These restaurants managed to get the job done, so maybe you can learn a thing or two from their example:
No Name Restaurant
No Name? No problem. This restaurant is found in South Boston and can accommodate large parties for their amazing seafood cuisine.
He’s Not Here Bar
Sounds a bit mysterious? Absolutely. Does it come with amazing merchandise and drinks? Definitely. Located at Chapel Hill, NC, there are few places that can match this bar in terms of unique names.
The Three Needs Taproom and Brewery
What exactly are the three needs? It remains unspecified but they’ve got some pretty good beer for you to order. This establishment is found at 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, VT.
Duck Duck Goat
The play on the kindergarten game makes for a surprisingly effective name. Established in 2010, you can find this restaurant at 857 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL.
Jekyll and Hyde Club
Catering towards ‘eccentric explorers and mad scientists,’ you can find this ‘haunted restaurant’ with the very spot on name in New York, NY.
Avoid Trademarked Restaurant Names
Originality is absolutely essential, so you have to make sure that the name you pick isn’t already taken. A good way to know which is available and which isn’t would be to check the Trademark Electronic Search System, often shortened to TESS. Not only will you know if the name is taken, but you’ll also discover similar names that are no longer available. If your chosen name has yet to be trademarked, it should be your top priority to register it.
To do this, you must first contact the appropriate agency. This tends of be the Secretary of State in most cases. Once you have done that, you then need to fill out all the forms needed. It also helps to try and find out if part of your restaurant’s intended name is already taken. It would be a serious problem if you try and trademark a name that’s already partially owned by a different business, so it is worth the trouble to find out.
Make Your Name a Reference
One good way to make sure that your restaurant’s name is memorable is to choose it in reference to something else. It could be a reference to your favorite book or movie. TV shows or even your favorite song are also good choices to make. Referencing other significant things draws people in, particularly those who are big fans of the source material. Just remember that they are drawn in by the name, but they stay for the quality of the food and service. Here are a few examples that you may want to learn about:
Life of Pie
Who wouldn’t be curious and attracted to a bakery named after a famous book-turned-motion picture? This family-owned bakery can be found in Ottawa, Canada.
Founded in 1993, this restaurant is evidently reference the classic novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Along with 19 other restaurants within the US, Tequila Mockingbird received a certification for ‘expertise in Tequila and its culture’ from the Regulatory Council of Tequila.
The Big Legrowlski
Located in Portland, OR, its selection of pints and growlers are sure to keep fans of ‘The Big Lebowski’ satisfied as they muse about the name’s reference to their favorite movie.
Lord of the Fries
Another literary reference, this time to the classic ‘Lord of the Flies,’ this restaurant is a vegetarian heaven. Its menu has a wide selection of veggie burgers, vegetarian nuggets, onion rings, and many others that should keep anyone happy.
Planet of the Crepes
Are you a fan of the Planet of the Apes? If so, and if you just happen to have a thing for crepes, then this business should suit your tastes well.
Ensure your Restaurant Name is Marketable
Picking your name whilst keeping your market strategy in mind is the best way to make sure what you’ve come up with is marketable. It should not sound like something you’ve heard of multiple times before. Your chosen name should ideally leave a memorable imprint whenever a customer sees or hears it for the first time. If you’re unsure of how marketable a name is, you can go through your list of names and share it with people you trust. Their opinions may give you some insight as to what would work and what wouldn’t.
One indicator of marketability is how funny something is. However, take note that humor is not the easiest thing to get across. Think back to your target customers; is the name something they’d find amusing or appealing? Failure to answer this question can lead to mistakes. You may drive away customers because you’ve mistaken something that’s rude to them for something funny.
Another way to name your restaurant would be to choose something that has a personal connection to you. You could name it after a loved one who has passed on, or perhaps in tribute to a friend or mentor who helped you out. It can even be far less dramatic and just be named after someone special for any reason at all. Besides naming it after people, it could be based on an event or a place that occupies a significant place in your heart. Numerous restaurants are named after something quite personal to their owners and here are examples of such establishments:
This famous and popular restaurant chain was named after the owner’s daughter, who also based the girl on their logo off her.
This restaurant chain from the Philippines got its name from its two founders, Dennis Nakpil and Dannis Mariano, Jr. They chose ‘Dencio’ because it is a local variant of their first names.
Max’s of Manila
More popularly known as ‘Max’s Restaurant,’ it had its beginnings at the end of World War II. Its founder, Maximo Gimenez, befriended the American troops that were stationed at Quezon City, Philippines. They’d go to his house for drinks for free, but soon insisted that they pay for it. This gave Max the idea to open his cafe and the rest is history.
This restaurant took its name from the number of attempts their chefs tried to create their perfect flavorful pizza dough. As for the word ‘Vivo,’ it translates to ‘alive’ in Italian. It is their claim that one bite of their pizza is all it takes to make your taste buds come to life, hence the naming combination.
Jesse Schenker’s son served as the inspiration for the restaurant’s name. When his son was born, Jesse and his wife began calling him ‘Goose.’ As they explored restaurant concepts, an idiom came to mind: “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”
DON’T Forget to Target Your Restaurant ‘s Brand
Another important piece of advice to always remember is to never neglect your own target market. Choose a name that can fit within their tastes, so it can become an integral part of your own branding efforts. The first thing to do about this is to have a thorough idea of who you intend to attract. Once you’ve done your research and can identify your ideal customer, figuring out a place for your chosen name and your branding will become significantly easier. From there, creating your restaurant logo, choosing colors, fonts, and other branding tactics can be followed up on smoothly.
By now you ought to have a pretty clear idea of how restaurant names are chosen. As you toy with what options you might have in mind, remember to prepare restaurant templates and documents just the same. Soon, you’ll be trademarking and branding your chosen name like all restaurants before you. Preparation is key to success and having read this article, you should be more than ready to take on the responsibilities that come with having chosen a name for your restaurant.