Behold, the ultimate Restaurant name generator!
According to the CGA Business Leaders survey, 21% of restaurant franchises in Great Britain plan to open up at least 10 new outlets in 2017. That’s a whopping one fifth of the entire market. If you’re just starting out, you might look at that statistic as pretty daunting. In one breath, it poses a significant obstacle for new and independent restaurants that are hoping to make waves on the hospitality circuit, but in another, it means that business is booming.
The restaurant business market currently stands at a value of 16.4bn, and with 31% of the U.K. claiming to eat out at least once a week, there is plenty of room for fresh blood. Now all you need to do is to work out how to differentiate yourself, and that begins with a killer title. This will start to form your restaurant’s identity.
Every restaurant needs to identify with a market. Would a group of lads grab a pre-match meal at Pink Palace? Would your spouse book a romantic anniversary meal at The Falafel Brothel? We’d hope not. Names can convey an awful lot, which is why we’ve put together the ultimate restaurant name generator to help you find the best one for your business.
Care to take it for a spin?
‘Restaurant’ sounds pretty French, right? That’s because it is. ‘Restaurant’ comes from the French word ‘restaurer’ meaning to restore. It first came into use in the mid 18th century when a Parisian street vendor known as A. Boulanger opened a shop near The Louvre Museum to sell soup that he referred to as ‘bouillon restaurants,’ meaning restorative broth. This was a rich, meaty consommé designed to replenish the strength.
To sell and advertise his wares, Boulanger created a small window display which read "Venite ad me omnes qui stomacho laboratis et ego vos restaurabo." This translated to ‘Come to me, all of you whose stomachs are in distress, and I will restore you,’ which was a play on the verse from Matthew 11:28 'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.' Quite the businessman, eh?
After the French Revolution, many servers and kitchen hands from aristocratic households began using the idea of providing food to the public as means of employment, and there the tradition of public dining began.
Restaurant titles are generally given names to either reflect their cuisine, their location, or their head chef. This often sees titles taking the form of translations from the cuisine’s country of origin, names of local towns/attractions, or are eponymously named after their chefs. These are trends on the restaurant circuit as they tell a potential customer exactly why they should eat there: because it is to their taste, it is nearby or because of prestige.
Of the 50 best restaurants named by The Good Food Guide in 2017, 28% of them had names coined from geographical locations (Midsummer House, Ynyshir, Castle Terrace...) 22% were named after (or included the name of) their head chef (Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Marianne, Paul Ainsworth at No 6.) and 18%* indicated the cuisine origin in the title. (La Gavroche, Murano, Casamia) The remaining 38% could be broken down into 7 other categories: Plants, girls names, boys names, animals, foods, ‘The’ + noun, and abstract or descriptive concepts.
Geographical - 28%
Included the name of the Head Chef - 22%
Abstract or Descriptive (E.g. Sketch or Fresh) - 18%
‘The’ + Noun - 14%
Boys Names - 6%
Animals - 4%
Food - 4%
Plants - 2%
Girls Names - 2%
*These names were factored into one of the nine categories stated based on their literal translations
Do use adjectives
The same way you might get fruity with language on a menu, descriptive titles can be extremely effective. You want to be appealing to hungry passers by, as if the whole street was the menu and your restaurant is the dish. How would you make them order you? Studies have shown that hungry people are actually more receptive to food related words, so including a food name in your title will pull the eye of the more indecisive eaters.
Do use buzz words
Another social media term that essentially means keywords that pique interest. What might draw media attention, or stand out to a critic? If you have a USP - perhaps you specialise in seafood, or you’re a healthy vegan restaurant - it should be implied in your name so you are able to address the right people. How many times has a friend suggested eating at a place that you’ve walked straight past a thousand times before? That is probably because nothing about it called out to you directly.
Do look to history for inspiration
Visiting a restaurant is a hobby to the true foodie, and restaurants go hand and hand with culture. Geographical names may be extremely popular, but you can also look at the location’s historical background or local landmarks for ideas. You’ll find that it makes you far more visible to tourists visiting the corresponding landmark. Call yourself ‘Richmond Park Palace’, and guess who comes pride of place when someone does a web search for ‘Restaurants near Richmond Park’...
Don’t try and compete with the big guns
If your name is Tom McDonald, naming your restaurant after yourself is probably off the table. Not unless you just go for ‘Tommy’s’. Make sure you thoroughly research all the variations of your title’s spelling - including some predictable misspellings - to see what the competition is. If someone already has the monopoly on it, you could end up expending a lot of effort marketing just to funnel traffic to the wrong business. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a sale because Google’s ‘Did you mean…’ feature was just trying to help.
Don’t over complicate things
There’s nothing worse than a pretentious name. Be economical with your words, and have a clear purpose for them. Over indulgent or complex names just end up ostracising potential customers and making the venue sound completely unapproachable. Keep it simple. Casamia, Artichoke and Fraiche are great examples of this, sounding both classy and for the everyman. ‘La Maison de l'oiseau Chanteur Rouge’, on the other hand, does not.
Don’t select a name without checking web availability first
Ideally you would like to have a great domain AND a unique handle that is consistent across all social media. It will help to reinforce the brand name and mean that customers consistently use the same hashtag (across Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter). Think of it as traffic consolidation; every single post using that hashtag will be found when searched for and because of that, your localised SEO will improve. There’s no point having 300 #DaisysLondon posts, 160 #DaisysDen posts, and 42 for #DaisiesLDN. You could have got 502 overall, but they’ve all been diluted because no one officially knew what to call it.
You’ve got to love a restaurant with a sense of humour. Laughter is not just the best medicine, but also one heck of a sales and publicity tactic. Here are some of our favourite titles from across the globe, some smart, some imaginative and some just hilariously punny.
1 - Grillenium Falcon, Arkansas
This is one smart way to make yourself hugely compelling to a pre existing market. Grillenium Falcon conveys its Star Wars USP, with a clever play on a phrase that most people - even those that haven’t seen Star Wars - have heard of. Star Wars is one of those film franchises with such a cult following, that fans would almost certainly go out of their way to visit somewhere that served themed food. By springboarding from the success of the films, Grillenium Falcon will be bursting at the rafters.
2 - 90-21-PHO, California
Again, this is a pop culture reference and they always go down a treat. Not only that, but when you hear something (a phrase, name, brand etc.) you recognise, it feels more familiar to you, and therefore you trust it more than something your brain has never processed before. It also makes use of rhyme, which is an age-old device for committing something to memory. Let’s just say we shan’t be forgetting that name in a hurry..
3 - Terre á Terre, Brighton
Literal translation: ‘Down to Earth’. Not only is that turn of phrase wonderfully welcoming, but it’s also a lovely hint at their menu selection. Terre á Terre is an exclusively vegetarian restaurant, so the inclusion of ‘Earth’ in the title sounds perfectly wholesome and brings to mind lots of lovely root veg. Most people’s GCSE level French will at least get you as far as translating ‘terre’ to earth. Even if that is only because we remember the word for potato as apple of the earth..
4 - The Laughing Gravy, London
‘The Laughing Gravy’ is a delightful amalgam of modern and traditional. Gravy gives it the homey, familiar essence of a country pub whereas ‘Laughing’ seems to lift the energy and give it a real sense of fun. It’s also clever as mixing classic and contemporary is exactly what The Laughing Gravy aim to do with their cuisine. Their name perfectly mirrors the company focus.
5 - The Little Fish Market, Hove
Firstly, ‘The Little Fish Market’ is going to immediately pique the interest of seafood lovers. Secondly, you get a real sense of non-commercial, independent values from this title- which in its Brighton and Hove context, is a very clever move. It sounds as though your custom would be really valued and pored over, and so further incentivises visitors.
6 - Baguetteaboutit, North Carolina
‘I wonder what they sell there…’ said no person ever. Baguetteabouit is another entertaining spin that perfectly positions and identifies itself. They currently provide food vans to festivals and private events, so we can only imagine the kind of business they get drifting over because of the funny title. It says: we’re fun, we’re approachable and best of all? We’ve got baguettes.
7 - Lord of the Wings, Lebanon
Another excellent use of referencing something with a pre-existing market. Lord of the Wings is obviously a J.R.R Tolkien reference, but it doesn’t actually correspond to the restaurant’s theme whatsoever. The reason we think that ‘Lord of the Wings’ is so entertaining is because it’s actually, subtly declaring itself as king of the chicken world. It’s just managed to sneak it past us by dressing up as a movie reference. Cheeky, but actually pretty effective.
8 - Fraiche, Merseyside
Fraiche makes the list because it seems to have encompassed near enough everything from our do’s and don’ts list. It is first and foremost descriptive, translating to ‘fresh’, as well as generating fantastic imagery, specifically appealing to the health conscious eater, hinting at the cuisine AND it does it all in one word. You don’t get much more economical than that.
9 - Bread Zeppelin, Texas
Similar to the methods of Lord of the Wings and Grillenium Falcon, Bread Zeppelin also looked to popular culture for inspiration, except this time on the musical scene. Bread Zeppelin uses the familiarity of the band Led Zeppelin to push their very own new brand of sandwich. Subway might offer the submarine roll, but these guys offer the zeppelin.
10 - A Salt & Battery, New York
A punny and imaginative name for a traditional British Fish & Chip shop across the pond. The name A Salt and Battery was the cherry on top of a fantastic branding campaign, which also included a logo designed to look like a buoyancy ring in the colours of London Underground roundel. This is one company that left no stone unturned, making sure each element of their restaurant’s brand was tied up with a bow.
You really do wonder what some of these restaurants were thinking - there’s got to be some method behind this madness. Some of these are so bad, you know the food has gotta be spectacular.
1 - Stomach Clinic, Nairobi
You probably shouldn’t open a place that serves food by suggesting you might need medical attention after eating there. What was on the sandwich board outside? ‘Come in, try the food - it’s terrible?’.
2 - McW*nks, Watson Lake
The asterisk was added for the purposes of decency, but unfortunately isn’t present on the actual shop front. They just went straight in with the swear words, really didn’t they? Not only that, but ‘W*nk’ is actually slang for bad in the U.K..
3 - Cabbages and Condoms, Bangkok
It might be alliterative but it’s gross. Hygiene is paramount in the food service industry so perhaps don’t opt for something which seems to say ‘You might find old detritus in your meal.’ That probably rules out ‘Broccoli and Old Band Aids’ too then. Sorry.
4 - Hot & Crusty, NY
We did advocate getting ‘descriptive’ but this wasn’t really what we had in mind. This actually does the exact opposite of enticing customers by instead sounding like a pair of old pants.
5 - In de Buurt, Amsterdam
This is presumably a translation situation. It actually means ‘Near’ in Dutch but to the hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting Amsterdam every year, it does not.
6 - Restoran Vargina, Kuala Lumpur
Again, association-wise, they’ve not really done their homework. It might be hilarious to a tourist for the sake of photography, but guess where they’ll be going for lunch..? Anywhere else.
7 - Kum Den, Melbourne
This name just feels a little abrupt. It sounds a bit antagonistic, like the beginning of a messy pub brawl. Remember to do the research on what your restaurant name translates to in other languages - especially the native language of where the restaurant is located.
8 - Hymen’s Seafood, South Carolina
This has the same issue as Restoran Vargina- it doesn’t really do much for the appetite. Bizarre choice considering they’re in the restaurant business, which kind of depends on people eating.
9 - Crappito’s, Texas
Self-identification is extremely important, so calling yourself ‘crap’ is never going to be an effective tactic. If you don’t want to eat your own food then why on earth would we want to?.
10 - The Golden Stool, London
Sorry but even if ‘stool’ didn’t have the bathroom association - what kind of name is that? What? You want to name your restaurant after a really tiny chair?.
Please subscribe to our weekly email lessons on how to increase business at your bar, nightclub, pub, or event company.
Join 57,702 other regular subscribers now.