Looking to start a restaurant, but having trouble finding the perfect name? There’s no right or wrong answer to the question of what makes a good restaurant name, but it’s more about choosing something that reflects your business, its style, and something your customers will resonate with.
What Makes a Good Name
Whether you’re a seasoned restaurateur or just starting out, choosing the right name for your restaurant can be a difficult process. A good restaurant name should be unique, memorable and easy to say and spell. It should also be relevant to your industry or cuisine, and ideally, it should have some sort of positive connotation. This connotation can be something which inspires you to chuckle, or conjures images of delicious plates of food in your mind.
It may help to brainstorm names that describe your restaurant’s cuisine or atmosphere. For example, if you specialize in seafood dishes, you might consider using related words such as “ocean,” “sea,” or even “sushi” as part of your name. If you’re known for serving delicious pastries and desserts, then words like “treat” or “sweet” could work well. Though it’s good to avoid being too generic and it’s best to employ some creativity.
Creativity could lead to some clever wordplay or by choosing something unique and memorable – just make sure you capture the vibe, ambience and style of your restaurant. Some names that sound great on paper can actually turn off potential customers or convey an unintended message, so it’s important to do your research and make sure that the associations you want are clear.
Think about the name of your restaurant in terms of its mission and values. For example, if you have a strong commitment to sustainability or supporting local businesses, then you might consider incorporating these ideas into your restaurant name. Similarly, if your menu focuses on dishes that are free from certain ingredients like gluten or dairy, then you could use those words as part of your name as well.
Look for names that communicate something about your restaurant’s atmosphere or location. You can include detail-oriented descriptions like “hungry” or “modern.” Or you could share some information about where your restaurant is located by including geographic place-names such as “near the pier,” “in the park,” or “on High Street.”
A restaurant name represents your business and brand, and what kind of first impact it will have on potential customers. Whilst it isn’t a guarantee of success on its own, a good restaurant name can be an important factor in the marketing process. Consider conducting market research to get a sense of how potential customers will react to your restaurant’s name. This market research combined with the right dose of creativity should help you find a name that perfectly represents your vision and sets you up for success.
How to Check A Restaurant Name Isn’t Taken
In addition to considering these factors, it’s also important to check that the name you have in mind isn’t already taken by someone else. To do this, you can use online resources like domain registrars and social media handles search tools. If a restaurant’s name isn’t available as a domain name, or there are already social media handles with the name of the restaurant in the title, it likely means someone else has already claimed it. This may lead to some brand confusion, unless there’s a significant distance between the restaurant that shares the name. If your “Fat Pig” in Swansea and there’s another one in Shanghai, it’ll probably not be too much of a big deal.
Do a quick search to see what restaurants that are in your area and see if there’s any overlap between their names and yours. If you find potential conflicts, try to come up with a different name or choose a variation of the one you’ve already decided on. This is especially important if your restaurant has a similar name as an existing place because it could potentially cause confusion for customers and lead them to believe they’re at the wrong location.
There are plenty of great resources online that can help. Sites like Namechk and Knowem offer tools that allow you to see if a particular name is available across various social media platforms and domain names, making the process of choosing a name much simpler. You may also want to check Companies House.
It goes without, don’t pick a name which risks putting you in direct conflict with a big franchise. Whilst the Irish chain “Supermacs” were able to win a European court case against the McDonalds, you may find it difficult to find a solicitor willing to risk reputation by representing you for a similar perceived transgression and the case won’t cheap to run.
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Marrying Up Social Media Domains with the Name
Once you’ve found a great name for your restaurant, make sure to follow best practices when it comes to promoting and marketing your business on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others – after all, having a fantastic name won’t mean anything if no one knows about your business.
You’ll want to set up accounts for the restaurant if its newly opened, or rename the existing accounts to reflect the name change. Consider creating posts which announce this name change, or have a competition for a bar/restaurant tab. You could even have customers vote for a name change, or make suggestions. Though it is worth noting, if the wider British public get involved, you may end up calling your restaurant something as silly as Boaty McBoatface!
Visibility is king, after all, this is how potential customers will find you – both online and in real life – so it’s important to get it right. Make sure that your restaurant’s name is written clearly on all marketing materials so customers can easily identify it, including signage in front of your building, menus at table level, branded t-shirts for employees, etc. The more attention you put into this step and the better job you do promoting your new name, brand, and identity online and offline, the higher the chances are of gaining popularity with customers.
Examples of Great Names
A crucial part of choosing a great restaurant name is getting inspiration from other successful establishments, both online and offline. There are countless examples out there that can provide valuable insights into what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to naming a restaurant.
A well named restaurant either perfectly informs the customer of the type of cuisine or ambience involved, or has a great pun in its title.
“The Noodle House” is a quirky, playful name which perfectly conveys the type of food offered at this popular London eatery. You’re not likely to find roast dinners or French cuisine here.
“Da Poke Shack”: This Hawaiian-inspired restaurant has built up quite a following with its fun, tongue-in-cheek name and delicious poke bowls.
“The Fat Duck”: This is a rather surprising name as it sounds like a fairly run-of-the-mill pub, but in fact, it’s renowned for its exquisite food and breathtaking location, this three Michelin star venue is the perfect choice if you’re looking to elevate your eatery to the next level.
OK, those are are arguably a little bit boring. Let’s go straight to the Dad-joke-level puns.
- Lord of the Fried: from the William Golding novel, Lord of the Flies)
- Life of Pie: you can probably guess what they serve here, you might be able to guess the name came from the book Life of Pi)
- Filled of Creams: a desert shop that uses the movie title Field of Dreams to sound slightly risqué)
- Jambon Jovy: pastry shop that pays tribute to the famous rock band)
- Lord of the Wings: from the book and movie Lord of the Rings)
- Grillenium Falcon: based on Han Solo’s ship in the Star Wars movies)
- Pita Pan: from the book and Disney franchise Peter Pan)
- Earth, Wind and Flour: the 70’s soul/disco band Earth, Wind, and Fire
- Wok This Way: the song Walk This Way by Aerosmith
- The Notorious P.I.G.: referencing my favourite late, great rapper the Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace)
- Planet of the Grapes: A wine bar which references the movie Planet of the Apes, alternatively, “The Grapes of Wrath”
- License To Grill: From the James Bond film License to Kill
Overall, there is no single “right” way to choose a restaurant name – ultimately, what matters most is finding something that sticks in the mind and appeals to your target audience, while also avoiding common pitfalls like sounding too generic or contrived.
So whether you’re looking for something clever, distinctive or memorable, remember that choosing the right name is an important step in establishing your restaurant as a successful brand. With research, creativity and a little bit of luck, you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your business!