How to Come Up With Great Restaurant Name Ideas: Finding Unique Names

Back of House Staff | June 11, 2020, 04:30 PM CDT

How to Come Up With Great Restaurant Name Ideas: Finding Unique Names

Like bringing forth your first child, the birth of a restaurant is a singularly exciting and challenging event. There’s the menu to consider, the interior design, the POS system... oh, and did we mention the all important naming of the place? Regardless of how good your appetizers are, your restaurant’s name makes the first impression and is critical to its success. Better make it a good one, right? But how?

Your restaurant name should promote what you’re all about, from the type of cuisine to your business values. Here’s how to choose the best name before switching on the “open” sign.

Consider your restaurant’s mission

What is it that defines your food and how you want people to feel when eating it? Asking yourself that question is a great place to begin brainstorming restaurant name ideas.

Use your location

Is your restaurant a corner cafe in a charming town or on the hillside of a vineyard? Just as they say in real estate, location is everything and it can be a hotbed of great material to source your restaurant’s name.

Promote your cuisine

While we’re all for crafting the most clever name you can come up with, at the end of the day, what you want is to make sales and that, like it or not, often begins online. How people search for restaurants on the internet has to be considered when deciding on a name, and often a great way to improve searchability is to infuse your name with a clue as to what kind of cuisine you're serving. For instance, “Isabelle’s French Cafe” will likely rank higher in search results for French food than say “Pierre’s on Main.”

Be original!

Another critically important thing to consider in choosing a restaurant name is originality. Too often owners name their restaurant only to discover that the next state over, another restaurant has the same name. While that wound’t seem like a problem, in the internet age, it can lead to all kinds of copyright issues. To vet your name, search the United States Patent and Trademark Office database to see if it already exists.

Optimize branding

A name isn’t just the title above your restaurant’s front door, it’s an extension of your brand and will be used in promotional materials, from menus to advertisements, social media campaigns to newsletters. Think thoughtfully about how your name can work for you, be it in font choice, messaging design, or even headline-catching puns.

Don’t forget phonetics

This might remind you of an ad for Hooked on Phonics, the classic children’s reading program, but it bears repeating: Avoid giving your restaurant a name that’s hard to spell. And, for that matter, hard to pronounce. Not only will it frustrate potential clients, but difficult words can also suggest an intimidating atmosphere that might deter people from visiting.

Choosing a restaurant name is hard. That’s why you should ask as many trusted friends and family to give feedback as possible. Float names by them and gage their reactions. You might be surprised what you discover. And if push comes to shove, there’s always the ol' Business Name Generator to assist in generating some virtual brainstorming.

[Photo: Pipe Carbonell from Pexels]

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