How to Name Your Restaurant

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how to name your restaurant

Restauranteurs are looking for a great name for your restaurant?  You want a name that is unique and communicates about your cuisine while being appetizing and easy to remember too! 

No worries, I am here, as a professional marketing consultant, to help you with naming your restaurant with lots of restaurant name ideas, step by step instructions, and brand names examples by cuisine type and restaurant theme. 

Questioning what should I name my restaurant? Keep reading to “cook up” a great name for your restaurant

Check out my list of good restaurant names that are not taken

How to Name Your New Restaurant

To create a unique restaurant name use these ideas to think up the perfect name for your new eatery. 

Naming Your Restaurant in 6 Steps


1 – Decide Cuisine and Restaurant Theme

Begin with thinking about the type of cuisine you serve in your restaurant. While your name does not have to be super-obvious such as including the word donut in the name of your donut shop. But you do need to consider the type of cuisine and the mindset of your prospective customers as you begin the process of naming your restaurant. 

Naturally, if you serve ethnic cuisine, such as Mexican or Italian, consider using some foreign language words (Spanish, Italian or French) in your restaurant name. 

Be certain that the majority of your target customers will understand these phrases – or don’t use them.  Misunderstood foreign words will hurt, not help your branding message. Here are more name ideas for your Mexican restaurant and Spanish restaurant 

Your name needs to communicate the vibe of your restaurant and menu selection. Are you an eclectic original chef? Then create a nonsensical, but interesting, pairing of words for your name. Try my tips on how to combine words (and personal names) to make new restaurant names here. 

If your menu is more traditional and your demographic older then use more conservative and time-honored naming techniques such as the founder’s name.  

BUT be careful about naming your restaurant after yourself. Learn about the pros and cons of using your name as your business name in my article here. 

2 – Find Your Restaurant Point of Difference

What makes your eatery different from others who serve similar menus? Is your food selection wider, gourmet, inexpensive, or authentic? Is your decor more elegant or rustic?  

Determine the qualities that make your restaurant stand out from others, which is your point of difference. This is a major factor to consider as you brand your restaurant. Your restaurant probably has multiple points of difference. Decide which is the most persuasive to your prospective diners and use that was a part of your restaurant name.  

Here is an example of how to do so. Start by brainstorming a list of up to 10 descriptive words (adjectives) about your restaurant. If you were naming your innovative Japanese sushi restaurant, this could be your list. 

Then use these words to create some really interesting naming ideas for your Japanese restaurant such as these:

3 – Study Customer Demographics

Your next thought- and an important one – is your target customer demographics. Simply put, it is the type of customer you want to become your restaurant diners and repeat patrons. 

Ask the questions below to determine your ideal customer. Included are examples of how to target specific customer groups with your restaurant naming. 

Once you know your customer profile you can write your marketing message, restaurant name, and advertising campaigns to address them specifically. This technique results in way more effective marketing due to a strong focused message. 

What are their ages? 

Are they 15 or 50+ years old?

If you serve fast food to high school students use words they like such as fast, cool, hip, zippy quick (spell it differently such as Kwiq or Kwuet – have fun).

Conversely, If you are targeting 50+ diners use different vocabulary for the same menu. Try words such as convenience, swift, ready-made. See how distinct words can better communicate with a different group of people. 

Where do they live?

Are they city dwellers, rural residents or suburbanites?

Knowing where your diners live is vital to best address their needs and preferences in your branding. Often city folk are attracted to edgy and elegant names while country urban people like simple and homier restaurant titles. 

Here is an example of branding differences – based on location – for a burger restaurant. Locations in large metropolitan cities you could use names such as Beef Squared or Le Boeuf (the beef in French), whereas, for a burger restaurant in a small town more effective names would be Uncle Bill’s Burgers or Down Home Beef. 

Check out my list of the best BBQ Barbeque restaurant name ideas here

What is their annual income?

Estimate the average income for your target customers to inform your decisions about pricing, decor, and marketing messages. 

Are they budget-conscious? If so, focus on the value and economy of your menu offerings with restaurant names including words such as casual, value, diner, and deals. 

If your target diners are wealthier then upscale your restaurant names by incorporating words such as cafe, gourmet, fine dining, and foreign languages (bistro, trattoria, etc).

What is their lifestyle?

Are your customers’ busy families eating together or singles out on romantic dates? Knowing your customer’s lifestyle is critical to developing branding that informs and attracts your best diners.  

Families look for casual restaurants that welcome children and can accommodate large happy (and noisy) family get-togethers. If this is your demographic consider including words in your restaurant names such as family, casual, eatery, and kitchen. 

If your restaurant is ideal for romantic dates, then market to singles with restaurant names that include words such as amour, cozy, warm, snug, and mellow.  

Check out my guide on how to change your business name complete with a rebranding checklist here

4 – Include Your Restaurant Geographic Location

Now study your restaurant’s location – city, state, country to select an excellent name.  

Contemplate using your city in your restaurant name. Examples are NYC Beef (steak house in New York City), SF Brews (for a coffee shop in San Francisco), or Atlanta Greens (vegan cafe in Atlanta). 

Another option is to incorporate your region or State’s name into your restaurant name. Examples of regional names are Hamptons Coffee (near me!), Western Diner, Panhandle Seafood Shack.

Get creative and add some local flair to your brand with regional slang. New Yorkers call people who winter in Florida snowbirds. If you have a breakfast joint in Florida how about naming it Snowbirds Deli. In Wisconsin they call water fountains bubblers, how about naming your midwest bar The Bubbler. 

NOTE: Think ahead. If you are planning to open multiple eatery locations – don’t use a specific city or state, region in your brand name. The Austin Taco Shack restaurant name will not work in Chicago! 

If this is your plan, go more generic – stay away from limiting geographic words – and focus instead on the other factors such as your cuisine and restaurant theme for naming inspiration. 

5 – Review Competition – Direct and Indirect

Sizing up your competition is an extremely important element of evaluating possible restaurant names. 

Make a list of all your direct competition – other places to eat that your customers may consider within your market area. Use this list to compare with your shortlist of restaurant name ideas. 

You want to be sure that you do not select a name that is confusing similar to another place – either in whole or part. An example is if your existing competition for your new Italian restaurant is El Giglio and Michelangelos. Do not name your trattoria anything that is Italian and ends in O.

Instead, proceed in a different naming direction to make your new restaurant stand out.

Check out my best Italian restaurant names ideas here – that are not taken

Indirect competition is those options outside of your market area and food options not in traditional restaurants including meal subscription kits, nutrition programs, delivery services, cookbooks, celebrity chefs, and restaurants in neighboring regions. Consequently, don’t name your restaurant Blue Apron or The Grub Hub. 

6 – Assess Restaurant Brand Name and Logo Usage

Lastly, reflect on how you intend to use your restaurant name. 

Will it be primarily in-person on your printed menus and signs or will it be prominent in mobile apps, websites, and social media.  

If you are using making app-based marketing choose names that are short and easy to spell, however, if you are focusing on in-restaurant branding longer names will work well. As long as they fit on the sign!

Naming Suggestions by Restaurant Type

For further inspiration on naming your restaurant, I have created these lists of restaurant name ideas for specific types of restaurants

Name Ideas for French Restaurants

Bienvenue! Welcome to hundreds of the best fancy French restaurant name ideas to help you name your new restaurant or cafe.

These naming ideas include elegant names for French cafes, coffee shops, bistros, brasseries, bakeries, patisseries, and fancy dining restaurants.

Name Ideas for Japanese Restaurants

Check out this list of hundreds of Japanese restaurant name ideas for all types of Japanese food including; noodle shops serving udon soba ramen noodles, tempura, sushi, yakitori, and shabu-shabu too!

Name Ideas for Chinese Restaurants

Are you opening a new Chinese food restaurant and need creative name ideas? Here are hundreds of innovative Chinese restaurant name ideas for all types of Chinese cuisine; Szechuan, Shandong, Cantonese, Huaiyang, Chinese takeout plus American Chinese buffets.

Name Ideas for Mexican Restaurants

Latin cuisine restaurants are growing in popularity in America.

It can be tempting to use Spanish words exclusively to name your restaurant – but this could be a mistake – depending upon your audience. If you cater primarily to a Spanish-speaking clientele then go ahead and use Spanish to name your restaurant – but know that you are limiting your reach. 

It can be a wiser choice to use either limited Spanish words or ones that are well understood by non-Spanish speakers to attract more diners to your eateries such as mesa, playa, sierra, burro, mustang, fiesta, pueblo, tango, chorizo, oregano, and salsa

Start by brainstorming ideas using names of popular Mexican dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, and nachos. Some example names:

Get inspired by reading my big list of catchy Mexican restaurant name ideas for Spanish Latin cuisine 

How to Name an Italian Restaurant

To best name your new Italian restaurant, focus on the type of food you are serving – pizza, pasta, homestyle or elegant dining. Feel free to use some Italian words to add some Roman flair to your brand name. 

Here are some ideas for upscale fine dining establishments:  

Get inspired by my list of hundreds of the best Italian restaurant names that are not taken

Here are my best ideas for your pizzeria restaurant name on this list of Pizza names  

Name Ideas for Bar Restaurants

Are you looking for a catchy bar name for your new business? Here are hundreds of classy bar names, clever cocktail bar names, and unique wine bar names too!  

Branding experts report that the greatest bars in America have cool or funny names – ones that customers remember and tell their friends about.

Your bar’s name is an important part of your brand personality. Make it reflect your unique bar experience – relaxing or boisterous.

How to Name a Vegetarian Restaurant

Healthy restaurant entrepreneurs, looking for unique and creative name ideas for your new health, vegan, or vegetarian restaurant? 

Here is my list of the best vegetarian restaurant names, and tips on how to name your organic eatery to naturally attract customers. All types of names are included for healthy takeaway ideas, and catchy names for health food businesses also.  

How to Name a Bakery

Are you opening a new bakery and need cute bakery name ideas? Here are hundreds of my best catchy bakery names to name your baking business – that are available! 

This ultimate list of memorable bakery names is filled with hundreds of creative, cute, unique, edgy, funny, and cute bakehouse name ideas!  Now selecting a good bakery company name is a piece of cake! Sweet!

Starting a mobile restaurant? Check out my best food truck name ideas to get customers lining up!

How to Use a Restaurant Name Generator to Come Up with Name Ideas  

Help for coming up with name ideas is available free and online at restaurant name generator tools IF you know how the best ones and how to to use them right! 

One key to getting good results is to select a powerful name generator with filter options, such as these business name generators by industry on my list here.  

Keep reading for my tips on how to use these powerful tools to get unique names (not boring ones that everyone else has taken!)

1- Use A Powerful Name Generator – Use a professional-grade name generator such as these; Name Station and Namelix, not a lame one that only gives you a few ideas with choppy English words. 

2- Pick Name Generator for Your Industry – Work with company name generators built for your industry-specific needs.  These tools will suggest the most suitable name ideas in line with your industry’s best practices. Check out my list of name generators by the industry for restaurants, online stores, and salons. 

3- Brainstorm Seed Key Words – Before you start using these online tools, create a list of keywords to use as “seeds”. Make a list of the obvious ones (your cuisine type, town, theme) and descriptive terms (benefits and emotions). Get interesting ideas for these keywords by using an industry glossary and a thesaurus.  

Remember the old saying – garbage in = garbage out. Never so true as when using naming tools. The quality (and uniqueness) of name ideas are directly affected by the words you input into the tools. Thus take time to brainstorm some creative terms to use such as these below. 

Examples for Mexican restaurant seed keywords to use in name generators are: 

Mesa (table), plato (plate), tenedor (fork), cuchara (spoon), serviletta (napkin), sandia (watermelon), fresa (strawberry), frutilla (fruit), tocino (bacon).

Examples for Italian restaurant seed keywords to use in name generators are:  mozzarella, oregano, basil, pepperoni, Frutta (fruit), Pesce (fish),  vino (wine), pomodoro (tomato)

4- Create Long List Name Ideas – As you get name ideas generated, add them to a long list.

Include both good and just OK names on your list. This is because later as you review this list, those plain OK names may spark your imagination – that with a little twist – can become truly great business names.  

5 – Test Your Name Ideas – Review your list of generated names – from the above step – and select the best to form your shortlist.

Please don’t fall in love with a name and not test it thoroughly. Then test each one using our checklist below to determine if it is a good business name for your company.

6 – Do Not Buy Expensive Domain Names – Most of the free online business name generators are selling domain names – often overpriced and super expensive. Do not buy these names.

Instead, search for your domain name directly here and buy for far less money.  

How to Register a Restaurant Name

To register your chosen restaurant name, you will want to set up your LLC (Get it for FREE! Yes $0 at Incfile – you only pay required state fees)  

To protect your family’s assets, homes, and cars, plus your credit rating I highly recommend using the legal protection that LLC offer.

Read more about why your restaurant should be an LLC in my in-depth article here

Incfile makes entrepreneurship easy. Get started with $0 LLC today!

NOTE: Depending upon your State registering your LLC gives you limited brand name protection from competitions stealing your restaurant name. BUT for the strongest protection, I recommend getting a registered trademark. Here’s how below

How to Trademark a Restaurant Name

To get the maximum legal protection for your restaurant name you will want to get a registered trademark. Happily, it is easier and less expensive than you think!

For under a hundred dollars our recommended attorney service at Legalzoom will safeguard your brand name from other businesses’ infringement on your intellectual property. Stopping would be name thefts in their tracks! 

Furthermore, getting a trademark protects your name and your logo, slogan, taglines, and symbols from being used by your competitors.

Read my in-depth review of Legalzoom affordable trademark services here.  

How to Change the Name of a Restaurant and Rebrand

Whether purchasing an existing restaurant business or revamping your restaurant’s image a business name change and rebranding can be a daunting task.

To help you navigate the process I have written this in-depth guide on How to Change Your Business Name and Rebrand – Step by Step

FAQ How to Name a Restaurant

How to check if a restaurant name is taken?

To correctly research if a restaurant name is taken search of multiple databases including domain names, trademarks, and state business registrations.

1 – Research domain name availability here
2 – State business name entity check here
3- Search USPTO United States Patent and Trademark Office here

Learn more about checking if a business name is taken in this informative article on the Legalzoom blog. 

How to put two names together for a restaurant name?

To create a new word from combining several words (or people’s names) is called name blending, word mix-up or portmanteau (read my guide here to learn how to use this technique). 

This is an excellent technique to use for the naming of business of two or more partners, chefs, or a couple – by combining their names together into a creative (and memorable) brand name. 
 
Combine Full Last or First Names

This is the simplest way to combine two business owner names into one company name. Use the last name of each person side by side.

Examples include Smith & Wesson or Jones White. Put your two last names together and add punctuation, or the word “and”, or an ampersand.

Alternatively, you could combine two first names in wholes such as Joe and Charlie’s BBQ Rib Shack, or Sally Sue Coiffures.

Learn many more ways to combine names to create a restaurant name in my guide here

How to pick a restaurant name URL?

The first step in picking your restaurant name URL is to find the perfect domain name that is available.

Choosing a domain name for your restaurant website to represent your business is a crucial decision that will require a lot of thought and research.

The name you pick will be your address on the World Wide Web for your company’s website and domain. As such you want to make sure that it is the best choice and these helpful tips will guide you to your perfect domain name. 

Typing Ease – you want to pick a name that will be easy to type for your prospective customers to get to your website. Plain English, short words, and no tricky symbols nor weird punctuation is in order. 

It is OK to use numerals or hyphens in your domain name. It can work very well because numbers make your name stand out and hyphens help to separate words and make your domain name easier to read and understand.

Check out my checklist of tips to discover the best domain name for your restaurant website here 

What are some cool restaurant names?

The coolest restaurant names incorporate interesting words to create innovative and modern brands such as ION, Tail (for seafood restaurant – check out more fishy names for your seafood eatery here), Truth Coffee and Alien (bar), Smooch, Sunny Side (diner), and Un Deux Trois (French cafe).

Here are hundreds of cool restaurant names on my list of available restaurant brand names

Next Steps:

How much it costs to start a restaurant

Cost to start a bakery with equipment list prices

Should your restaurant be an LLC?

Gallery of creative menu board ideas

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