Restaurant Name
Posted 6 years ago by Eduardo Mora

5 Tips To Choose The Perfect Restaurant Name With 30 Examples11 min read

You have heard the expression that you only get one chance to make a first impression. And those who have experienced it will most probably confirm that it is quite true. This applies to a restaurant name as well.

But it is even more important when it comes to business and more specifically – the restaurant industry. If you fail to satisfy your clients on their first visit or even worse – if you disappoint them, you most probably won’t see them again.

But before having the chance to make that first impression, you should focus on reaching as many potential customers as possible. That means you should carefully design your brand identity and plan your marketing strategy. The first and most important factor when building your brand is deciding how to name your business. And this is the cornerstone that makes many business owners fail.


Things To Consider When Choosing The Name of Your Restaurant.

In the highly competitive economy that we live nowadays, it is very important to use each and every tool in order to distinguish your business from the competition. But apart from the higher competition, the digital era that we live in provides you with amazing opportunities to reach potential customers easier and faster than ever before. And the first and most important factor to make yourself stand out is to present your business in the best possible way, starting with defining its name.

The following tips will serve you as guidelines in the process of choosing the most appropriate name for your business. You won’t find exact suggestions or suitable names, as each and every business model is unique, but what the following information will provide you with is important bits of advice and best practices to make yourself stand out.


1. Choose Carefully.

Wow, really? Although it is more than obvious, many business owners are eager to open their restaurants as soon as possible and avoid spending too much time on choosing how to name them. The fact is that this is a decisive factor for your future success. First of all, your restaurant name defines important processes such as your marketing and branding strategy, web presence, interior design and etc. But what is more crucial is that your restaurant name has the power to speak for itself. If defined well and backed with high-quality service, it can become a benchmark within the industry and the customers. Bear in mind that a business name, if managed well, will slowly but steadily turn itself into a brand. And brands have the power to influence, set trends and define the needs of their existing and potential customers. Consider all this useful information so that you can…


If anything is good for pounding humility into you permanently, it’s the restaurant business.


-Anthony Bourdain


2. Avoid Rebranding.

This can be a consequence of choosing a name that, at some point, you start considering inappropriate. For example, 77% of B2B marketers reveal that branding is critical to the future growth of a business. That means rebranding won’t do you any significant favors unless it is absolutely necessary. If you think that you can change your name seamlessly, just think about one of those big, multi-million acquisitions that happen nowadays. For example, imagine there is that big foreign telecom that acquires the biggest local one. Part of this process is a change of names as well and all this should then be communicated to the wide public via all possible online and offline channels – press, media and etc. This process goes on for a couple of months in order for the transition to be as smooth as possible. Now think about your restaurant business. Do you have the resources to do that? Do you have such significant customer base? Can you allow yourself to lose a small part of your market share due to bad communication or rebranding failure? Even if your answer is yes, which in most cases won’t be, it is still unnecessary and unreasonable. You can avoid all that by just carefully initially planning your name.


3. Think of a Meaningful Name.

Naming your restaurant “John’s” or “Peter’s café” just won’t work, unless you have built yourself a name, renowned for your skills in the kitchen or behind the bar. So if your name does not speak for itself within the restaurant industry, such strategy will simply not work. Instead, make sure to find a meaningful name that will describe the unique characteristics of your place. For example – if you plan to focus specifically on traditional Italian/Chinese/American or other cuisines, choose a name which reflects that. Or dive in details – if your aim is to become the king of burgers, steaks or etc., communicate that with your name or slogan. The best thing here is to choose a name that will present the advantages of your business. And make sure to keep it simple!


4. Don’t Forget It Should Be Catchy and Attractive As Well.

Bear in mind that we are living in the digital era. Thus, you have a tremendous opportunity to advertise your business and attract customers. Nowadays, people often use different apps like Yelp to find places to eat or drink. Having a good rating and a catchy name will surely attract their interest. And once they visit your place, you should make sure to provide them with amazing service from the highest quality. This is all you have to do. We, as human beings, tend to constantly link our visual memories to names. Such association will stick in the customer’s mind and the next time his group of friends is wondering where to go, he will end up saying: “Let’s head to (insert catchy name here) with the delicious burgers and the cosy atmosphere.” Choose a name that is easy to remember and leave the rest to psychology.


5. Visualize It.

If you have managed to do all the research, brainstorming and etc. and have figured out how to name your restaurant, you have one last thing to focus on – the visual appearance. According to a FedEx research, 76% of consumers revealed that they entered a store or business they had never visited before based simply on its signs and 75% of them spread the word. Our brains are very efficient when it comes to colors which makes them good at linking brand names with logos. Choose a specific color palette and use it for everything related to your business – from the branding to the interior, menus and etc. According to a research from the University of Loyola, colors are able to increase a brand’s recognition by up to 80%. Remember to keep things simple. When it comes to branding, less is always more. That is why minimalism is what you should aim for. Bear in mind that no matter how good your restaurant name is, if you choose inappropriate colors to visualize it, or mix way too much different tones, you will significantly minimize the overall effect of it.


Tips on Choosing The Perfect Name

Now, after you are already familiar with the importance of the way you decide to name your restaurant, let’s go ahead and focus on some useful practical advice that will help you in the process of finding the best name for your restaurant. Alongside with the informative tips, you will find some real-life examples of names of famous restaurants that you can use as a point of reference when deciding how to name your own business.


Related: 3 Proven Ways To Grow Your Restaurant.


  • Keep Things Simple

Just think about the speed at which you walk down the street or pass through shops, restaurants or other businesses each day. In such dynamic daily routine, you barely notice the names of places and rarely remember any of them. Keep in mind that people should be able to read the name of your restaurant in a matter of seconds.


  • Be Recognizable

A restaurant name should hint at what you serve and what are your specialities. If you are specialized in some specific type of cuisine, make sure to use a word or a phrase that will indicate it and will stick into the customer’s mind.


  • Be Unique

Or in other words – avoid naming your restaurant in a way that will confuse your customers. Starducks is not a good idea if you want to replicate the success of the popular coffee chain. Just the opposite – using a name that is close to the one of a well-known brand or a competitor of yours will only do you harm as you may face legal consequences. Instead, be creative, even crazy if you wish.


  • Make It Catchy

Using pun names is another very good idea which has the potential to make you stand out from your competitors in a very bright and creative way. They are very popular and most of the time, leave the customers with a smile on their face, even if they are just passing by your place. And if the name of your restaurant does not turn out to be a reason for one’s visit, it will surely appear on numerous photos on social media.


  • Keep a Positive Tone

“The Dirty Fish” is one of those names that you should avoid if you don’t want to ruin your chances of success, before even starting. Instead, aim for positive words and phrases. They have the potential to influence our brains on a psychological level and will surely affect your customer’s attitude towards your business in a positive way. 


Read More: 3 Ways To Increase The Efficiency of Your Quick Service Restaurant.


30 Examples of Top Restaurants with Cool Names.

Not all leading restaurants have boring names. Just the opposite – most of them actually have very creative names, although they were found way back in time, when the restaurant sector wasn’t so competitive and the importance of the name wasn’t so significant.


International Cuisine

1) Bavarian Inn – if you want to taste some European food, head to the German-modeled town Frankenmuth, Michigan

2) El Pinto – one of the best Mexican restaurants in the country

3) Per Se – a three-Michelin-starred French restaurant that offers a daily nine-course tasting menu and a nine-course vegetable tasting menu in New York

4) Sotto – a renowned restaurant in Cincinnati for everyone who loves Italian cuisine

5) Non Solo Pasta – or translated from Italian – “not only pasta”

6) De Luca’s – this Pittsburgh’s restaurant is worth visiting if you want to try its famous MOAB (Mother of All Burritos)


BBQ Restaurants

7) Arthur Bryant’s – if you are a BBQ lover, this place in Kansas City will make you fall in love with it

8) Scott’s Bar-B-Que – considered by many as one of the best BBQ restaurants in the country

9) The Virginian– a famous steak restaurant in Buffalo, Wyoming, located in the historic Occidental Hotel

10) Bones – as its name suggests, this spot in Atlanta is where you can find perfect steaks and meat dishes


Seafood Restaurants

11) The Lobster Shack Restaurant at Two Lights – one of the first places to visit if you are in Maine and want a fresh-off-the-boat lobster

12) Occidental Grill & Seafood – the go-to place for rib-eyes or scallops in Washington

13) Mayflower Café – definitely the place to visit if you want to try a wide variety of seafood

14) Ocean Pride – as its name suggests this restaurant is a great choice for seafood

15) Fishing with Dynamite – this oyster bar offers delicious seafood and perfect location near the coast of Manhattan Beach, LA

16) The Old Clam House – an iconic restaurant in San Francisco, founded back in 1861

17) Joe’s Stone Crab – a favorite place to many celebrities, located in Miami


Unique & Creative Names

18) St. Elmo Steak House – definitely one of the best steakhouses in the country

19) Girl & the Goat – a family restaurant in Chicago, serving wide selection of wines, craft beers and of course, delicious food

20) Cheesy Does It – an amazing food truck, located in New York

21) The French Laundry – one of the country’s most esteemed restaurant got its name from the fact that the building was once housing a French steam laundry

22) H&H Soul Food – a great place in Macon, Atlanta for all music lovers

23) Katz’s Delicatessen – if you are in New York and want to find outrageously enormous sandwiches, this is the place to visit


Traditional & Historical Restaurants

24) Union Oyster House – the most iconic restaurant in Boston, founded way back in 1826

25) Pancake Pantry – one of the most iconic breakfast spots in the US that has hordes of people waiting to be seated each and every day

26) Haven Brother Diner – the owner of the truck describes it as “the last survivor of the legacy that began the fast food”

27) The Common Man – located in a 19-th century barn in Vermont, this restaurant is a popular place for skiers and riders

28) Ruth’s Dinner – if you haven’t dined in a real trolley, then this spot in Salt Lake City is a good choice

29) Arethusa al Tavolo – this restaurant is famous for offering an innovative farm-to-table menu that celebrates the products of the Arethusa Dairy Farm

30) Hancock Inn – one of the historical restaurants in the US, founded in 1789


Bottom Line

The main thing that you should do when choosing restaurant names is to express yourself and highlight the uniqueness of your place. There are millions of restaurants all over the world. The competition is insane. And the foundation for your success is laid within the name of your business. Just be creative and be yourself.