Choosing the right name for your restaurant or bar is one of the most important aspects of building your brand. It sets the first impression customers will have of your establishment. As such, it should reflect the values, concept, food, and personality of your unique restaurant.
Because your name is a literal signpost to your restaurant, it’s important to find something memorable, catchy, and true to your brand.
This article will cover:
- Factors to consider when naming your restaurant
- Tips for choosing the best name
- Examples of outstanding restaurant names
- Imagining your restaurant
It can seem overwhelming to choose the right name to be the cornerstone of your establishment, but with the right tools, the process can be inspiring and rewarding.
Factors to consider when brainstorming
It helps to give your brainstorming some structure. To make sure your name reflects your brand’s values, location, and personality, it’s important to consider what makes your restaurant unique:
Geographic location is important to consider when choosing a name. Consider incorporating details like:
- Street name. Is your restaurant located on a street or corner with a catchy name?
- Numbers. Using your address number, zip code, or area code in your name can create a unique and modern effect.
- Landmarks. If there’s a landmark nearby your restaurant, using it in restaurant or bar names can draw tourists and faithful locals.
- Regional feature. Having a pulse on what makes your city or state special — from agriculture to tourist spots and beyond — can help you pick a name that fits.
- Previous tenants. If your building used to be home to an interesting tenant — like a train station or warehouse — incorporating it into your name and concept is always a great choice.
Remember, region-specific details can give your restaurant some local flair and appeal to local diners and tourists alike.
You’ve spent time crafting a mission statement that encapsulates who you are and what values you hold dear. Your restaurant name should be an extension of your carefully developed beliefs and goals.
When choosing a name, consider the driving concept behind your restaurant. If possible, you can elevate the concept and connect with customers by referencing culture like:
- Television shows and movies
Though it may seem obvious, choosing a name that reflects the type of cuisine you serve is a great way to draw in customers. You can express your style of food through:
- Language. If you serve food with a unique origin, consider incorporating a different language into your name. Serving crepes? Think about choosing a French name.
- A signature dish. If you have a dish or cocktail on your menu that’s the star of the show, you can work it into your restaurant or bar name to boost interest.
- Cuisine. Sometimes it pays to be direct. Consider incorporating the type of cuisine you serve into your name by including it outright.
The more you can express personality in your restaurant’s name, the more you’ll be able to connect with customers from their first impression. Consider using:
- Humor. Creating a funny restaurant name can be challenging — but the rewards are high if done right. If your restaurant has a lighthearted, fun vibe, show it off with a pun or a humorous name.
- A more elegant tone. If your restaurant is more of a classy or modern establishment, think about choosing a sleek name to match. Pick a one-word or traditional name that helps express your elegant intentions.
- Heart. Consider how you can evoke emotion — such as nostalgia or love — from your guests.
Tips for choosing the right name
Now that you’ve read up on restaurant marketing advice and understand the importance of incorporating your identity into your restaurant or bar name, focus on these tips for picking the perfect name for you:
Take your time
It can be exciting as you start building your brand, but it’s important not to get caught up in the rush and pick a name prematurely. Instead, make sure to:
- Find inspiration. As you develop your brand, taking the time to look around for inspiration — at other restaurants, your locale, your mission statement, and more — can pay off.
- Brainstorm. Commit to brainstorming different themes, concepts, and names. Give yourself plenty of options to choose from.
- Do your research. Make sure your desired name hasn’t been claimed and trademarked. You can search your secretary of state’s website to check.
Keep it simple
At the end of the day, keeping things simple can help streamline your branding — especially when you expand to online marketing. Remember to:
- Simplify. Choosing a name that’s easy to remember, spell, and say can boost word-of-mouth marketing and make it easier to utilize restaurant search engine optimization (SEO).
- Keep it positive. Aim to use positive words and phrases that leave potential customers with a good impression.
Make it memorable
No matter what strategy you use to choose your restaurant name, make it memorable. You want your customers to easily recall your restaurant’s name so they can easily find your website, leave positive reviews, and keep coming back for more.
- Make it recognizable. Home into your signature style with a word or phrase that’s sure to stick firmly in your customer’s mind. Recognizable names work well for email marketing campaigns, print ads, and more.
- Make it unique. Use creative or unconventional names through unique spelling, symbols, alliteration, rhymes, and more.
- Make it catchy. Social media marketing can contribute to the success of modern restaurants. Choose a name that will work well on social media platforms and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Some outstanding examples
Before you begin the process of choosing your restaurant name, gain inspiration from these creative and successful choices:
- Union Oyster House, Boston, Massachusetts.
- Antoine’s, New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Louis’ Lunch, New Haven, Connecticut.
- St. Elmo Steak House, Indianapolis, Indiana.
- Girl & the Goat, Chicago, Illinois.
- Cheesy Does It (food truck), New York, New York.
- The French Laundry, Yountville, California.
- Sloppy Joe’s, Key West, Florida.
- J.J. Foley’s Café, Boston, Massachusetts.
- The Pink Pony, Mackinac Island, Michigan.
- Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas.
- The Red Fox Inn & Tavern, Middleburg, Virginia.
- Vesuvio Cafe, San Francisco, California.
Use your imagination
Now that you know the importance of choosing the right name for your restaurant, essential factors to consider, and tips for choosing the perfect name — and have been inspired by some outstanding examples — it’s time to make your ideas come to life.