How to Name a Restaurant
Step-by-step guide to coming up with a memorable, effective restaurant name.
Create a keyword list.
Review your mission statement.
At this point you should have a mission statement written for your business. Look for words that describe what makes your business special.
Review your market research.
If you conducted market research, look for words that customers consistently associated with the restaurant you plan to open.
Think about key ingredients.
Are there certain ingredients that are key to what your restaurant does? For example, basil, flour, cilantro, beef, etc.
Think about location.
The location of your restaurant and the region where the food comes from can give you great ideas for a name. Write down the street you're on, the neighborhood, city, and state where you're located, as well as locations important to the food you're cooking.
Review key dishes.
The most iconic dishes you serve can help with naming too. Many popular restaurants use a cornerstone dish in their name.
List words related to the cuisine.
Most likely your restaurant will focus on a cuisine, or blend of them. Whether it's French, Italian, Sonoran, Tex-Mex, Sushi, or Barbecue, there will be vocabulary you can use.
Combine the words from your list.
Create potential names from your list.
Use your list to help you discover name ideas for your restaurant, and write everything down.
Read through the list.
Your associations with these words may just trigger you to think of an interesting name.
Combine words from your list.
Combine the words from your list in as many ways as possible. Most likely, anything over three words will be too long. You can enter your words into a tool like NameSnack to do this automatically.
Look for rhymes and alliteration.
Names that rhyme or use alliteration (starting words with the same sound) are often memorable. Look at your list and see if there are ways of rhyming them or creating alliterations with other words.
Cull your list.
Sleep on it.
Once you've got a decent list from the initial brainstorm, get some space. Give it a day or two of rest and look at it with fresh eyes.
Review your list.
Review the initial list of names. Cross off no-gos, put stars next to ones with potential, and add any new ones that come up.
Share the initial list.
Show your list to someone who fits your customer profile. This is preferably a list without any annotations. Ask them to cross off names they don't like, and star names they do.
Test your names.
Conduct a survey.
You can survey people in your target market, asking them directly which names they prefer, and what associations they make with different names.
For best results, try surveying people in areas where you're likely to open the restaurant, at times when people would be likely to eat there.
Use online ads.
You can hire someone knowledgeable about Google and social media advertising to run test ads with a few of the potential names, to see which get the most interaction.
To run a successful advertising test, try hiring a pro from Upwork or Fiverr.
Poll restaurant owners.
People who already run successful restaurants may have insight into the pros and cons of different names.
Quiz for memorability.
Read some of your top names to friends, then check in the next day to see which ones they still remember.
Check for availablilty.
See if your top names are available.
You can do Google searches, and check with the state to see if the name has been trademarked.
See if you can get a domain name to match your top choices.
If you plan to have a website, you'll want to see which names have a domain available and if you can get a .com, .net, etc.
Choose your name.
Buy your domain.
You'll want to buy the matching domain name as soon as you've settled on a name.
Trademark your name.
Protect the name you've worked hard to develop by trademarking it.
How can I be sure my restaurant name is good?
Check it with friends, family, likely customers, and other restaurant owners. Make sure it's easy to remember, and gives a sense of what makes your restaurant special.
Where can I find ideas for my restaurant's name?
Think about your ingredients, dishes, cuisine, location, and what makes your restaurant special. Try running the vocabulary you come up with through a business name generator like Namesnack to get more ideas.
How can I see if my restaurant's name is taken?
Check with your state business name lookup and search for the name and close variants online.
How can I see if my restaurant's URL is available?
Check Namecheap for the URL, or domain name, for your restaurant. Consider close variations as well.
How do I choose a restaurant name?
Making a final decision is tough. Be sure to present your ideas to potential customers and others who can give feedback. Give it a couple of days to see if a name grows on you, and check availability to make sure you can really own it.