If you dream of opening a restaurant, you probably already know what kind of food you want to serve, what kind of ambiance you want to create, and what kind of service you strive to provide. Maybe you even know what kind of plates and cutlery you’d buy and what kind of a boss you want to be.
But have you thought about what you’d name your restaurant?
Naming a restaurant, cafe, or bar is a surprisingly tough step for many aspiring restaurateurs.
A restaurant name needs to be memorable. It needs to represent your concept accurately and succinctly. And it needs to set you apart from other restaurants in your area. It’s important to give it a lot of thought, because it’s not easy to change a restaurant’s name once you’ve picked it.
We’ve broken down how you can go about choosing a restaurant name, and we’ve provided 27 examples of creative, catchy restaurant names.
How to Use Restaurant Name Ideas For Inspiration
1. Brainstorm about your restaurant concept.
On paper, write down everything that will make your restaurant unique. This will help you come up with a list of keywords for your restaurant name, and will also be helpful when it comes time to build out your business plan.
Your menu items
The key ingredients on your menu
The type of cuisine you’ll be cooking
The style of decor of the space
The color scheme
The drinks you’ll serve
The vibe you’re going for
The neighborhood where it’ll be located
Your name (and the name of your business partners, if any)
Any family names that are important to you
When you can’t think of anything else, read through your (likely very long) list and circle your favorites. These will be the building blocks of your restaurant name.
2. Use a restaurant name generator to spark new ideas.
Some of these restaurant name generators ask for keywords for guidance, while others give totally random combinations of words. Though some of the names that come up will be completely silly and unusable, they will get the ball rolling and help you decide what kind of name you’re going for. You might even find your perfect restaurant name in there.
Here are five great restaurant name generators to play around with.
3. Reach out to your community.
There’s a good chance you’ll be stuck between a few ideas, so post a poll on your social networks and talk to your friends and family in person. See what reactions are elicited from each name idea. This will help narrow it down.
Make sure everyone thinks that it’s spelled in an intuitive way that would be easy to Google.
If you haven’t even come up with ideas to choose from, ask your community for suggestions. People love brainstorming about things like this and are often eager to help.
4. Make sure it hasn’t been done.
It’s probably OK if a restaurant on the other side of the world has the same name as yours – but if it’s in the same city? That’s a problem.
You’re also going to need a website and all the social media channels for all of your marketing efforts, so make sure the name is available on all platforms. If it’s not, jump back up to your list of key words and start again.
How to Choose a Restaurant Name
Now that you know how to choose a name for your restaurant, get some more inspiration from these 27 very creative and memorable restaurant names. We’ve got examples based on puns, others based on pop culture references, and finally, restaurant names that are just fun to say.
It’s been said that puns are the lowest form of humor, but you can’t deny that they can make even the sternest of characters smile. Most restaurants with pun names tend to have a laid-back atmosphere, and the puns sometimes make it onto the menu and website as well. Here are some of my favorites:
1. Party Fowl - Nashville, TN.
2. Cheesy Does It - Saratoga, NY
3. The Dairy Godmother - Alexandria, VA
4. Kale Me Crazy - Atlanta, GA
5. Nacho Problem - Durban, South Africa
6. Lettuce Eat - Monroeville, PA
7. Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus - Lowell, MA.
8. Rolling in Dough Bread Company - Moss Bluff, LA
9. Wok N' Roll - Cambridge, MA
10. Wild Thyme Gourmet - Highlands, NC
The Pop Culture References
When you love something, sometimes you’ve just got to name a restaurant after it. Or, at least, that was the case for some of these restaurants and managers. Below are my favorite creative restaurant names based on pop culture references.
11. The Lockhart Bar (Harry Potter series) - Toronto, Canada
12. 16 Handles (16 Candles, 1984 John Hughes movie) - New York, NY and others
13. Tequila Mockingbird (To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960 Harper Lee book) - New Canaan, CT
14. Life of Pie (Life of Pi, 2002 Yann Martel novel) - Ottawa, Canada.
15. Lord of the Fries (Lord of the Flies, 1954 William Golding novel) - Melbourne, Australia
16. The Glass Onion (Glass Onion, 1968 Beatles song) - Falmouth, MA.
When their 2-year old son suggested that the restaurant be named after one of his favorite Beatles’ songs, The Glass Onion, Josh and Tally Christian couldn’t say no.
17. Pita Pan (Peter Pan, 1904 JM Barrie play and later Disney movie) - New York, NY
18. Planet of the Crepes (Planet of the Apes, 1968 novel and later movie & TV show)- Tucson, AZ.
19. Thai Tanic (Titanic, 1997 movie) - Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
20. Jekyll & Hyde Club (Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, 1886 novella) - New York, NY.
Fun to Say
These restaurants used simple, catchy combinations of words with rhymes and lots of alliteration to make their names fun to say and very easy to remember.
21. Jajaja - New York City, NY
22. No Name Restaurant - Boston, MA
23. Girl and the Goat – Chicago, IL
24. Leaping Lizard Cafe – Virginia Beach, VA
25. He’s Not Here Bar – Chapel Hill, NC
26. 2 Dudes Brew & Que – Monroe, LA
27. Dough Doughnuts – New York City, NY
Now that you've got instructions, resources, and lots of inspiration, go forth and choose your dream restaurant name. And once you've chosen your restaurant name make sure you set yourself up for success.
For the 2019 Restaurant Success Report, Toast surveyed 1,253 restaurant owners, operators, and staff and 1,030 restaurant guests across the U.S. to understand their thoughts on what makes a great restaurant.