Many decisions go into forming a bar or restaurant, but few are as essential and as binding as the business’s name. Choosing a name can be tough, especially since it must be done before the establishment even opens, and changing the name later on can be a big headache, since it also involves changing the menus, merchandise, advertisements, signage and web content. While altering menu items or restaurant hours can easily be done at any time, naming your restaurant is a major, usually long-term commitment.
Consider these guidelines when brainstorming restaurant names. First, customers like names that are easy to spell and remember. Simple but original words or phrases will leave a lasting impression with customers, and they won’t be struggling to remember the name of that tasty spot they once tried when they want to come back for seconds or recommend it to friends. Names with some word play are especially memorable. For instance—Woowey Asian Bistro: no. Thai Me Up: definitely yes. Funny restaurant names can be memorable as well, but be careful—check out this video for funny restaurant names that cross the line:
You can also base your restaurant name on its theme. For example, if your restaurant specializes in cuisine from a certain country or region, choose a well-known site or phrase from that place as the name. French restaurant? Bonjour Bistro. Japanese? Mount Fuji Restaurant. Don’t confuse customers with something from a different culture than the food you serve; for example, don’t name your Turkish restaurant Mount Olympus.
And if you’re going to name your restaurant after a person, be sure to include the story. If the place bears your own name, tell customers how you’ve been dreaming of opening this exact kind of establishment ever since you were a little kid in (fill in the blank). If you named it after your grandma who was a great cook or your daughter who inspired you (like the founder of Wendy’s did), then write about it on your menu! It helps if the name is memorable, easy to spell, and doesn’t resemble the name of a major franchise. For instance, if your name is Denny or Papa John, you should either find a different restaurant name or a very good lawyer.
How to use this Information
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Tell us some great (or not-so-great) bar and restaurant names you’ve seen, or describe how you chose the name of your business!