How to Name Your Restaurant

When opening up a new restaurant, especially for the first time, owners should pour their time and effort into finding the perfect name for it. Your name should encompass your brand and reflect your food, mission statement, concept or values.

You want to keep it simple, something that isn’t too hard to spell or remember. Word-of-mouth marketing is everything to a new business, so you’ll benefit most if people can easily look you up. Names can also evoke emotion if you want to tie a specific feeling to your brand name.

Whatever route you decide to go, do your research. There’s no need to commit to the first thing you think of and end up settling when there’s a better name out there. Take time to find a name that’s right for you. Avoid taking one that’s already being used by checking the Secretary of State website, which is also where you’ll end up registering your restaurant’s name later on. Clarify the direction you want to explore or the message you want to send with your name; that’s a great jump-off point if you’re unsure where to start.

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What to Draw From

First, decide what kind of feeling you want to convey with your name, then work backwards from there to find a name that suits that mission best. There are several different approaches that you can take to find your name.

Mission Statement

Perhaps the most straightforward option, naming your restaurant after an aspect of your mission statement is one of the more obvious ways to express your core values. Your mission statement already exists and encompasses who you are and what you believe in, so it’s an accessible well to draw from. If you don’t have a mission statement yet, this is a sign that it’s time to write one up.

Location

Naming your restaurant after something nearby is a neon sign telling new customers where to go. Referencing your street name, for example, makes it easy for customers to locate you for a visit. You can similarly name yourself after an address number, neighborhood or nearby landmark to orient new customers too. Location-based names are easy to remember, tell guests exactly where to find you and also ties you to the community in a concrete way that strengthens your relationship with the locals.

Funny

People enjoy a dose of good humor, but this is one of the more difficult ways to name a business. You need balance with funny names; if you take it too far then people could get offended or it could go over your customers’ heads, both of which will negatively impact your reputation. Keep it simple.

When it comes to funny restaurant names, it’s best to give them a test drive first. Find a group of diverse-thinking but trustworthy individuals and see if the name lands right with them before moving forward. There’s more room for creativity with a humorous or punny name, but don’t get so weighed down in being clever that it ends up making no sense with the business itself.

Reference

Does your location site have a history? You could pay homage to past tenants or famous local events if there are any significant ones from the area that you want to link to your brand. Alternatively, you could reference pop culture if any media has been particularly impactful on you, although be wary that your preferences could change over time and pop culture rarely has a long lifecycle, so you’ll want to choose something that has a good chance of longevity. A name that doubles as a reference can be especially advantageous if your restaurant has some kind of relevant theme.

Emotional

Your name can even trigger an emotional response in customers which ties your brand positively to their feelings and encourages return trips. Warmly welcome guests to make them feel at home when they choose to dine with you, so that they’ll want to come back next time they’re wondering about where to eat out. You can make customers feel happy, nostalgic or simply at home, strengthening your relationship with each other.

What’s in a Name?

Your restaurant’s name is an important brand choice, and you have a chance here to get creative and reflect on your values and uniqueness. The name is how people will forever identify you, so choose wisely.

Workshop ideas with those same friends you used to rule out humorous names and gather opinions on the choice you like best before locking it in. Don’t settle for something so important as a brand name; plan ahead. You should put as much time and effort into this as you do your decor, menu and every other aspect of your restaurant which reflects so much of your heart and hard work.

Finding a name that matches your price point, brand voice and overall atmosphere can be a challenge. Reviewing these categories might spark the perfect fit, but they’re only a jumping off point for most restaurateurs. Use this guide to begin generating ideas, but remember: The perfect name will feel right and click into place. Make sure you give yourself the time and space to find the right fit.

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