Branding Featured Restaurant Marketing

How to Find the Perfect Name for Your Restaurant

Tips to pick the perfect restaurant brand & name

Setting up a new restaurant business is exciting and daunting in equal measure – there’s just so much to think about! Once you’ve secured the right location, you’ll need to find a reputable firm of builders or shop fitters to turn the empty shell into the catering establishment of your dreams. Then there’s the paperwork and finances to make sure your new venture can get off the ground.

You’ll be looking to recruit an experienced and reliable team to help deliver a first class service. Staff roster scheduling is key, but luckily there are restaurant scheduling software tools such as Planday to help keep everything running smoothly. Finally, you will have chosen reliable food and drinks suppliers, and devised and exciting menu that will pull in the punters.

But before you do any of the above, you need to make one very important decision: what will your restaurant be called? Choosing the right restaurant name is as important as deciding on the type of food you will serve. The name needs to be recognizable, unique and an accurate reflection of your brand.

Make it recognizable

Your restaurant name should give your guests a good understanding of the sort of restaurant they’ll be visiting. There should be no confusion as to the brand message. You wouldn’t call an Indian restaurant Marco’s Taverna or a high-end French patisserie Joe’s Caff, would you? More appropriate names might be Padma’s Palace (Indian restaurant) or Choux Choux (French patisserie).

The right name sets the scene for the type of food being served there, and the sort of establishment your customers can expect to find. Take your cue from a theme or location, or the menu itself.

Stand out and be unique

Take a look at your local competition and pick a restaurant brand that people will remember. If you’re opening an Italian restaurant, make yours sound new and fresh, and a little bit different. Perhaps choose the name of an ingredient in Italian (Basilico, Origano, etc.) rather than the name of the chef?

If appropriate, you can use humor or a wordplay to give your restaurant a memorable name. Thai Tanic, The Codfather, Tequila Mockingbird, Lord of the Fries, Feng Sushi – all of these are great examples of successfully memorable restaurant names that will bring a smile to the face.

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Choose the perfect restaurant name

Evoke the senses

It is important to create a foodie connection through your brand name. Ideally, this should be more than a geographical clue to your cuisine. Appetite impacts on all the senses, so why wouldn’t you use this knowledge to your advantage?

Think about sights and smells to tempt your patrons inside. The Sizzling Sausage is likely to make the mouth water much more than The Breakfast Room, while Hot Java Canteen somehow seems more inviting than Corner Café.

Be inspired by your restaurant’s location

Naming your restaurant after a location can be a great strategy if the building or the business has a heritage you wish to reinforce in your branding. For instance, a restaurant with the name The Old Library can pay homage to its municipal past via its interiors scheme, and even via the menu; The Bike Shed can incorporate quirky bicycle paraphernalia. For a modern take, why not use the street address in the name, such as 189 Piccadilly or One Aldwych?

Look to your restaurant's location to pick the perfect restaurant name & brand

Keep it in the family

Similarly, adding personality gives more depth to your restaurant brand. If the inspiration for your patisserie came from your grandmother, why not weave your family’s history into the restaurant name and call your café Mabel’s Marvellous Cupcakes? Whatever the meaning behind the name, you should be prepared to share it with the public and use it in your marketing.

Don’t forget to target your restaurant’s brand

Finally, don’t forget that whichever name you choose, it needs to fit with your target market. Identifying your audience may require some research but it’s important because you can’t afford a mismatch between the business name and the people you’re trying to attract.

Will your restaurant be targeted at urban professionals? Look for an aspirational name that reflects art and culture, such as London restaurant hotspots Kiln, Luca or Nape. Are you appealing to a young, hip crowd – be creative and edgy in your choice of name, such as North London venues The Coffeeworks Project and The Book Club. Mums and toddlers, on the other hand, will need a more accessible, laid back vibe – perhaps The Purple Carrot Café?

Whatever name you eventually decide to go with, be sure you have given it due consideration. The success of your business may well depend on it.

About the author

Mike James

Mike James is a Brighton based writer, specializing in a few small business niches. From cybersecurity to online branding, Mike has written for a range of the leading online and print magazines over a 20+ year career. When he's not writing tech and geeky stuff, he loves to write about cookery and exercise regimes; fields he is anything but an expert in.