How to Name a Restaurant

You’ve decided on your restaurant concept and gained some relevant industry experience. Now it’s time to give your baby a name.

There’s more to a brand than the name

When naming a restaurant, you should choose something sensible and descriptive, avoid being overly clever, and definitely avoid puns or jokes. Inspiration is everywhere so rather than trawling through online restaurant name generators, go outside for a walk, read a novel, or head to the gym.

There are lots of ways to brainstorm restaurant name ideas, such as word association games or rapid ideation. However, sometimes the best way of coming up with a name for a restaurant is not trying to think of one at all — often the name will come to you rather than you having to chase it.

Make it fit for purpose

Once you have a few name ideas, stress test them in various scenarios.

Say it out loud

Try using it in a sentence. Is it annoying when repeated 20 times? Is there any ambiguity in the pronunciation?

Say it to other people

Try calling a business helpline and telling them the restaurant name. If they ask for it to be repeated or spelled out phonetically, then you may need to think again.

Don’t create confusion

The last thing you want is for a prospective customer or supplier to be asking “Do you mean Luigi’s on 10th or 13th?”

Consider indirect competitors

A simple Internet search of your intended restaurant name and city should bring up not just the restaurants, but other businesses with an already established brand.

Check you’re allowed to use it

The online Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) provides a database of locally and nationally registered names and restrictions.

Make it appropriate

It goes without saying that your name should be in tune with your cuisine. Would you buy a burrito from the Golden Pagoda?

It’s important that the brand sends the same message and stays consistent throughout. Consider how your name is going to play out across the whole customer experience, from the entrance and color scheme to the décor and style of FOH uniforms.

Develop a digital presence

This bleeds through to your online profile, too, which is something no modern business can do without. The first touchpoint many people will have with your business is likely to be a local map listing when they’re using their smartphone to search for a local restaurant.

You need to have a presence everywhere your customer is likely to be looking for you.

Buy the main domain name URL for your brand, as well as any possible commonly misspelled variations.

Even if you’re not planning on actively using all the channels, secure appropriate social media handles.

Put up a basic landing page with a logo and a “coming soon” message until you’re close to opening.

As there are not too many simple website URLs or catchy Twitter profiles left, you may even end up adapting the name to match a website address that’s available. This is perfectly acceptable as long as everything remains consistent across the board.

Your website can be a powerful hiring tool, as well as a marketing one. In these early stages, rather than posting ads on your own site, it might make sense to use the built-in job advertisement features of a LinkedIn business profile. You’ve got enough to set up without having to worry about customized applicant tracking systems.

How to Develop a Vision for Your Restaurant

Define your core restaurant brand and keep it consistent.

How to Build a Successful Restaurant Website

Create a better online experience for customers, and drive more sales.

Restaurant Marketing Resources

Strategies and activities to apply in a variety of situations.

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