Everyone out there who has said you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover has obviously never had to think about how to choose a restaurant name.
At this point, with 616,008 restaurants in the United States according to the NDP, you have to wonder: Are there good restaurant names that haven’t been used?
Yes… and no. There are some good names for a restaurant that have been taken, and you can find yourself in legal trouble if you choose a restaurant name that someone else already has a restaurant license or permit for. You can create the best restaurant name ever, however, with some brainstorming. Our tips below will tell you how.
Appeal to your target audience
If your demographic is millennials, then take some time learning about what they want from your restaurant — and not just on the menu. Consider the restaurant industry trends they enjoy, too. Your restaurant name should clearly enforce the type of person your establishment is for. Some reminders: provocative names tend to draw in young singles, and fun names may attract a social crowd.
Focus on the psychology of the words
We all know that there are subconscious emotions associated with words. But we often don’t think about that. When thinking about how to name your restaurant, you should think about the emotions you want your restaurant’s name to evoke. Consider that sensory names tend to be more memorable. Also, alliteration tends to break through the noise. And sound symbolism is thought to convey messages in price or cuisine type.
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Differentiate your restaurant from competitors
Often, a copycat name entering the market is easy. Luigi’s Italian Restaurant already does really well in your city, so why not call your restaurant Giuseppe’s? Creating brand preference will be a lot harder in the long run — especially when people are asking “Was it Luigi’s? Guiseppe’s? One of those.”
Create a name that matches your values
Your restaurant is an extension of your values. Potential guests will choose to dine with you based on those values. A restaurant mission statement communicates your brand personality and helps build loyal regulars.
Pick a name that gives you room to grow
If you call your place “Tommy’s Pizza,” but later on you decide you want to brand out into full-on Italian sit-down, you’re pretty closed off. Sure, your loyal regulars will know that you offer more than pizza, but a first-time diner won’t. Be sure to consider choosing a restaurant name that can grow with you.
Bottom line: A good restaurant name should be able to stand the test of time. You can only convey so much about your food to diners with your name, but what you should be able to do is convey emotion and leave folks with something they’ll remember.