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As fun as the naming process can be, figuring out what to call your restaurant also comes with challenges. Not to mention, what you choose to call your restaurant is how you draw customers in, as well as how you clue them into what your business is all about. Naming your restaurant is an important decision, and it’s one that should be made logically and carefully.
- If you’re asking yourself, “what should I name my restaurant,” chances are you need to spend a significant amount of time weighing your options — don’t jump to a decision too soon!
- Your restaurant’s name should align with its general theme, vibe, atmosphere, and brand concept. Just like a menu, names show guests what’s on offer.
- Choosing a unique name that sets your business apart from the competition can help you attract and retain customers.
What Are Good Restaurant Name Ideas?
If you asked a hundred different people what constitutes a “good” restaurant name, you’d probably get a hundred different answers. This is because unlike calculating food costs or selecting the best walk-in freezer, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for how to name a restaurant. That being said, good names for restaurants usually share a few common characteristics. They tend to be:
- Memorable: If a potential customer walks by your restaurant, they’re much more likely to return if they can remember the name — so it needs to have staying power in order to be successful.
- Intriguing: Once your restaurant has made it onto potential customers’ radars, it needs to be intriguing enough to make them actually want to visit. Something that’s original but not overly complicated or obscure usually does the trick.
- Connection forming: Most of the time, successful restaurant names are linked to a specific cuisine, place, emotion, or cultural reference. Ensuring that your name evokes a sense of place or purpose is essential for making it feel meaningful.
How to Choose the Best Name for Your Restaurant
While it’s possible that a brilliant restaurant name will come to you in the middle of the night, you’re more likely to find the perfect fit if you approach the restaurant naming process using a more methodical approach: Here’s how:
- Research: The first thing you need to do as you start thinking about restaurant name ideas is to take stock of the existing restaurant names in your area. It’s important to only be considering good restaurant names that aren't taken.
- Write your ideas down: As you brainstorm, be sure to write every idea that comes to mind down on paper. Sometimes bad ideas spark good ones, and there’s nothing worse than coming up with something great only to accidentally forget it. Keeping a list of restaurant name ideas is essential as you go through this process.
- Use a generator: There’s technology for everything these days, including naming a restaurant. Using a name generator can help get your creative juices flowing.
- Ask around: Friends, family, and community members can all be excellent resources when you need to pick a name. They can provide honest, objective opinions that can be incredibly useful when making such a big decision.
Creative Restaurant Name Ideas
The key to creative restaurant names is making sure they stand out and avoiding choosing words that appear in restaurant names across the country. If you pick a name that’s been overdone, it’s going to end up sounding cliche and unoriginal. Tapping into your imagination and thinking about what makes your restaurant unique is usually the best way to choose something creative. These restaurant names are great creative examples:
- La Caverna
- Crown Shy
Cool Restaurant Name Ideas
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when it comes to cool names for a restaurant is that it needs to be relevant, current, and speak to what’s popular amongst your target demographic. For example, if you want to attract a younger crowd, you could choose a name that’s rooted in social media or celebrity culture. These restaurants nailed choosing a cool name:
- Salt Bae
- The Modern
- Vinyl Steakhouse
Catchy Restaurant Name Ideas
Unique restaurant ideas often go hand-in-hand with catchy names that roll off the tongue. The idea is that you want people to find your restaurant’s name stuck in their heads, just like they would a song or a commercial jingle. Alliteration and rhyming can go a long way here. For example:
- Dough Donuts
- Pies N’ Thighs
Fancy Restaurant Name Ideas
Fancy names for restaurants should help communicate the fact that your establishment is upscale. Using words and phrases that evoke elegance, class, and stature will let people know that they should expect an elevated dining experience when they walk through your doors. You can tell these restaurants are fancy from their names alone:
- Le Bernardin
- Per Se
Unique Restaurant Name Ideas
Choosing a unique restaurant name can be beneficial because you can feel confident that people won’t confuse your establishment with other restaurants. To make your name stand out, you should avoid things like using common last names and even food items. For example, it’s easy to confuse two similarly named bagel shops. Take a page from these unique restaurants’ books:
- Noodle Pudding
- Please Don’t Tell
- Death Avenue
Funny Restaurant Name Ideas
If you want your customers to know you have a sense of humor, you can go with a funny restaurant name. Puns, plays on words, and pop culture references are all great to consider when you want your name to make people smile. Here are few restaurants whose names will elicit a chuckle:
- The Ugly Duckling
- A Salt & Battery
- Wok to Walk
Cute Restaurant Name Ideas
A cute restaurant name helps project a sweet and wholesome image. Opting for a cute name lets customers know that they should expect a light, happy environment — and that they won’t be walking into a dark, loud, grungy dive bar. Take a look that these downright adorable names:
- Jack’s Wife Freda
- Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop
Brunch Restaurant Name Ideas
All you need to do is reference breakfast in your name to let people know that your restaurant is the place to be for brunch. Start thinking about your favorite breakfast staples, and try incorporating them into your name like these restaurants:
- Egg Shop
- Buttermilk Channel
- Harlem Biscuit Company
Health Food Restaurant Name Ideas
Healthy food is pretty much synonymous with vitality, nutrition, and of course, fruits and vegetables. Choosing a name that incorporates adjectives that evoke a sense of well-being, as well as referencing healthy fare, is a great way to let people know they can trust your business to keep them on a healthy path. These names make you feel healthier just by reading them:
- Little Beet Table
- Avant Garden
Seafood Restaurant Name Ideas
There are plenty of words and phrases that conjure up pleasant visions of dining by the sea — no matter where your restaurant happens to be located. Consider using nautical language and referencing the ocean’s bounty as you choose a name for your seafood restaurant, such as:
- The Mermaid Inn
- Ocean Prime
- The Clam
Cafe Name Ideas
Cafes bring to mind warm cups of coffee, freshly baked treats, and a sense of community. That said, many cafe names are based on people and places to hone in on the feeling that a cafe is a place where people can settle in and feel at home. Take a look at these examples that will make you want to stay for a while:
- Little Collins
- Cafe Sandra
Bakery Name Ideas
Most of the time, bakery names are as sweet as the treats they serve. Many bakery names aptly pay homage to desserts and other baked goods, for example:
- Breads Bakery
- Little Cupcake Bakeshop
- Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery
Coffee Shop Name Ideas
A good coffee shop name creates as much buzz as the caffeinated beverages they serve. It can be a good idea to reference coffee, coffee culture, or hot beverages in general when naming a coffee shop. These coffee shops’ names do the trick:
- Drip Coffee
- Intelligentsia Coffee
- Think Coffee
Italian Restaurant Name Ideas
There are plenty of ways to make it clear that your restaurant specializes in Italian fare by naming it accordingly. Whether you want to incorporate a few Italian phrases, make a pasta reference, or pay tribute to a family name, there are plenty of great options. These Italian eateries make it clear what kind of food they serve with their names alone:
- Via Carota
- La Pecora Bianca
Mexican Restaurant Name Ideas
Incorporating a few Spanish words and phrases as well as referencing some of Mexico’s most famous specialties in your Mexican restaurant name is ideal. Doing so are great ways to make it easy for someone to notice your business when they’re craving Mexican food. For example:
- Casa Azul
- Empellon al Pastor
Chinese Restaurant Name Ideas
Using names, places, phrases, and words that reference Chinese food and culture will help distinguish your business as a Chinese restaurant with ease. You can also consider incorporating the style of Chinese food you plan to serve or the region to make the name even more specific. Some restaurants that have succeeded with this strategy include:
- Grand Sichuan
- Han Dynasty
- Peking Duck House
Indian Restaurant Name Ideas
Including the type of Indian food you plan to specialize in, alluding to Indian dishes, or including the region from which your cuisine hails can all work to make your restaurant feel uniquely Indian. Take a look at these examples:
- Dosa House
- Desi Galli
Japanese Restaurant Name Ideas
Stating the type of Japanese food you plan to serve can help your customers know right away what’s in store, and using Japanese names and words can help make the name distinctive and specific. For example:
- Tempura Matsui
- Momofuku Ramen
- Sake Bar Decibel
What To Do After You’ve Chosen a Restaurant Name
Once you’ve settled on the name, it’s time to get down to business — literally! There are a lot of steps involved in taking your vision from an idea to reality. The next steps include creating a logo, registering the business, making a website, and securing funding from sources like small business loans for restaurants. It’s a lot to do, but the process will be worth it when your restaurant is up and running.