How to find a killer restaurant name – 7 must ask questions to help

by Karen Post, on October 1, 2012


name art1 226x300 How to find a killer restaurant name – 7 must ask questions to help
Your brand name helps you put a face on your business, differentiates you in the marketplace and can be one of your most important restaurant branding assets.

When you open a new restaurant, your new restaurant is your new baby. You conceived the idea. You’ll nurture it through its life. And if you’re like most business owners, you have big hopes and dreams for its future. So name it with care. Just as you poured through 18,007 names for your child, before settling on “Blanket,” you need to brainstorm names for your new business — meaningful names that add a symbol to your story — names that are memorable and easy to understand, but versatile enough to grow with your business.

When naming your restaurant, remember that you want it to be held in high ESTEEM. A great brand name is:

  • Emotional — It makes you feel good and generates curiosity.
  • Symbolic — It evokes an image and communicates the expertise, value and originality of your products or services.
  • Timeless — It can outlast fads and trends and take your company into the future, when your menu line or services might evolve or expand.
  • Easy — It’s easy to pronounce and remember. Maybe it has a catchy, compelling sound or eye appeal.
  • Expressive — It exudes personality, style and attitude.
  • Multi-faceted — It works equally well visually and when said aloud, making it ideal for advertising and promotional campaigns, as well as word of mouth.

Think before you name
Whether you hire an agency or brainstorm names on your own, here are 7 questions to first ask yourself:

1.) Will it be used in a local market only? Throughout the United States or will it go global?
2.) Who is your customer?
3.) What are you promising your customer?
4.) Who are your competitors, and what names are they using?
5.) What is your price point?
6.) Where do you hope to be positioned within your restaurant category?
7.) What kind of personality are you trying to convey?

To trademark or not to trademark. That is the question.
Once you decide on a name and have all your ducks in a row, if you think that — at any time in the future — you might operate beyond your own small geographical locale, you want to seriously consider trademarking the name of your business.

So what exactly is a trademark and why might you need one? According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), “A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.”

Lots of small businesses don’t trademark their names. If you’re a tailor or a caterer, opening up a small neighborhood shop, you are unlikely to need a trademark. But what if you want to have hundreds of restaurants, all over the country? Sometimes local business owners harbor big dreams of expanding. If this is the case, make sure your name can be federally registered by checking the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System. For more information, go to

Also, don’t forget your FREE eBook on what restaurant customers really think PLUS menu design tips for your restaurant.

Posted on Monday, October 1st, 2012 at 10:50 am and filed under Marketing for a restaurant, Restaurant branding, Restaurant brands, Restaurant business planning, restaurant ideas, Restaurant marketing, Restaurant marketing plans.