8 tips for choosing the best name for your restaurant.
The restaurant business is more of a jungle than an industry; competition is fierce! Starting a business is hard, a restaurant even more so.
Standing out is the name of the game, and building a reputable brand around your food, your philosophy, and your service is vital for long-term success.
If you’re planning on starting your own restaurant and live the dream, there are a few factors you have to take care of first, and the name of your restaurant should be on top of your list.
Here are a few tips for choosing the best name for your restaurant. Get inspired and start with the right foot, welcome to the jungle!
1- Keep it short
People are lazy. Unless you’re a well-established business, people will have a hard time remembering your restaurant’s name.
Let’s look at some examples, with no disrespect: Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon and Mad Mex Fresh Mexican Grill. These are just a few examples of Australian restaurants with long names. If they were to open today, they’d have a hard time positioning themselves on the market.
Yes, there’s a global trend for big names. Check out these recently opened restaurants in New York City: While We Were Young, Carthage Must Be Destroyed, Leave Rochelle Out of It.
Yes, these are real restaurants in the Big Apple. They’re OK but now use them in a sentence. See what we’re trying to do here? Long names are an option, but they’re also a significant risk of being forgotten.
Now, look at the following restaurant names: Quay, Attica, Marque, Sepia, or Est. Short names that make a statement, by the way, these are the best restaurants in the country!
Memorable, short names are easier to remember and are more likely to find a place in the market. Don’t be a hero and keep it short.
2- Be self-explanatory
Abstract names are attractive, sure, but what if your name talked about what you stand for? About your food? Think of restaurant names like Marea, in NYC; a fine-dining restaurant focused on seafood. The Grill is another outstanding name that tells you exactly what to expect.
If you were craving for sushi, which of these restaurants would come to your mind first? Masaaki’s Sushi or Minamishima? Probably the first one, because you instantly know this is a sushi place and not a ramen store.
While you’re at it, think of names of towns or regions that represent your food. Think Mumbai for an Indian restaurant, Firenze for an Italian eatery or Rio for a Brazilian Steakhouse.
When possible, make your restaurant’s name tell people what you’re all about.
3- Shake things up
You don’t always have to play it safe; you could shake things up with a name out of the concept. Catchy names with a hint of humour can grab people’s attention: think Wok This Way, Mad Fo Chicks, The Middle Feast, or Fleetwood Macchiato.
Funny names are definitely an opportunity, but people will await a corresponding menu and service.
People walking into Fully Tabooly will foresee a casual decor, inventive dishes, and a laid-back service, not a serious, five-star operation with overly complicated food.
If your concept is fun and casual dining, consider an amusing name people will remember.
4- Own it
Many of the first restaurants in history used to feature the owner’s name in the restaurant’s sign, think Michel’s Patisserie or Uncle Tony’s Kebabs.
In a way, your reputation backs up your business, which you guarantee the quality of the food and the service.
People like to know who’s behind their food, and they develop a relationship faster with people’s names than with anonymous restaurant names.
You don’t even have to use your real name, make up a character! Captain Cook’s Shrimp or Billy’s Pizza are an excellent place to start, get creative.
5- Make up your own
Sometimes inventing a word is the best way to gain notoriety. Use an online fake word generator and see what comes up: Modeflick, Glowl, Nedril, Vallume, Pruvia, you’ll spend hours of fun creating name ideas for your business.
The upside is that you’ll hardly have competition. You’ll be amazed at how many restaurants go by the same name, something that causes identity problems in the future, especially on online search tools.
Talking about search engines, search your new invented word on Google before you go crazy printing business cards and menus, you might end up using the same name as a shiny, new dishwasher.
6- What’s your address?
One of the finest restaurants in the world is Eleven Madison Park, can you guess where it’s located?
If you’re lucky, your business address has a ring to it. Capitalize on it and name your restaurant as its address. Don’t tell us King Street 77 is not a cool restaurant name, or what about 69 Church St?
Talking about a double whammy, not only will your restaurant have a neat, memorable name, people will know precisely where it is, and that’s winning half the battle.
7- Make it searchable
By now, you probably have a few possible names for your restaurant, now make certain they’re easy to search.
Start by making sure your restaurant name is written as it sounds. Silent and double letters are businesses’ worst enemy.
If people don’t know how to write your restaurant’s name, they won’t be able to find it on Goggle, Yelp, or Instagram.
If you have to spell it out, you have a problem in your hands, so simplify matters; make yourself reachable.
8- Conceptualize it
Congratulations! You have yourself a winning restaurant name, now make it a whole concept. Menus, fonts, uniforms, logos, and even the music; they all have to form a complete image for your business, your food, and your philosophy. Your restaurant’s name is just a small part of your whole concept.
There are plenty of design tools out there, and many of them are free. Also, you can always hire a designer to help you create a well-rounded concept.
Choosing the right name for your restaurant is essential, but make sure it’s part of a cohesive business model and an integrated image. Good luck!