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Do you dream of becoming your neighborhood’s beloved caffeine source? Making relationships with regular customers? Building a strong, supportive team of early-rising baristas, bakers, cooks, and managers? Drinking coffee all day? You might be ready to open a cafe.
One of the first steps in building your cafe is choosing a name. It’s the name that’ll be emblazoned all over your shop, your cups, your social media accounts, your aprons, and maybe even your napkins. That means it’s gotta be a name you really like, and one that represents your business effectively, in a clear but memorable and meaningful way. Sound like a tall order? No worries. We’ll walk you through the four major steps of naming a cafe, from brainstorming to consulting with your community.
How Do I Choose a Cafe Name?
Here's a brief overview of how to start gathering ideas and choose a cafe name.
Write down your coffee shop's core values, mission, description, team, and location
Ensure your coffee shop name isn’t already taken
Play around with a name generator to spark new ideas (and rule out the types of names you don’t want)
Reach out to your community for coffee shop name ideas
We’ll go into detail about each of these steps below, and then get into some cool cafe name examples.
What are good cafe names?
A great cafe name should be unique to your restaurant. It should stick in the minds of your first-time patrons, and it should convey your brand, your personality, and what makes your business unique. If you can fit it in, it can also be helpful to use your cafe name to let potential patrons know what kind of goods they can get from you. A good cafe name is also easy to spell and remember, so that your potential guests can easily find you on Google.
With all that in mind, here are some tips to get you started on the path to discovering the right restaurant name for your new spot.
1. Write down your cafe's mission, location, and core values.
Your cafe’s mission statement describes who you are, why you’re here, and what you plan to accomplish as a member of your community, and it should play a large role in choosing the right name. Are you intending your cafe to also be a community hub? A cafe slash bookstore that hosts reading groups? An event space? A cafe by day, wine shop by night? An employee-owned cafe coop? Whatever the case may be, you might want to use your name to convey your mission.
But there’s much more to a cafe name than your mission statement. Let’s do a little exercise. Grab a pen and paper and write down the following:
The type of food or drinks you’ll be offering
Your cafe’s core values and mission
The intended personality and vibe of your cafe
Adjectives you’d use to describe your cafe
Your name (and the name of your business partners, if any)
Any family names that are important to you
The neighborhood or town where it will be located
The purpose of this exercise is to pull out words and phrases that describe your cafe and may make up part of (or all of!) your cafe’s name. This list will also come in handy when building out your restaurant business plan.
When you can’t think of anything else to add, read back over your list of superlatives, adjectives, and descriptors and circle your favorites. These will be the building blocks of your restaurant name.
Cafes are gathering grounds for people from all walks of life – plan your next cafe with this business plan template.
Restaurant Business Plan Template
No matter where you’re at in your restaurant ownership journey, a business plan will be your north star. Organize your vision and ensure that nothing is overlooked with this free template.
2. Choose a name that isn’t already taken
To avoid accidentally sending your customers to another business, and to avoid copyright issues, make sure your name is completely unique. Once you've settled on a handful of contenders, run these possible names through some search engines and the following resources:
The Yellow Pages
To learn more about copyright infringement, visit Copyright.gov.
3. Use a restaurant and cafe name generator to spark new ideas.
A name generator can help get you out of a writer’s block moment and inspire you to try different word combinations that you hadn’t considered.
Some of the following generators ask for guidance in the form of keywords (in which case it’s helpful to have your key word shortlist on hand), and others just assemble random combinations of words. While some of the suggested names and combinations you get from the generators will be unusable, it'll help you narrow down what you like and what you don't. You may even find the perfect restaurant name hiding in the results.
Restaurant and Cafe Name Generators
4. Ask your community for cafe name ideas
Most people who start cafes want to do so in order to build something special for their community, so why not involve them from day 1 and ask for their input on your name? Tell friends and family about your concept and ask them what they think it should be called.
You can also take to social media and share some of your shortlisted options and ask your community to vote on which name they like best. You can use your personal account here, since you likely won't have a social media page built for your business if you haven't chosen a name yet.
You can also offer future discounts or raffle off a free coffee on opening day to all the people who help you with this task. Or you can name a particularly decadent blended beverage after them!
Guide to Restaurant Social Media Marketing
Learn how to optimize your social media presence to showcase your brand, tell your story, attract new customers, and engage with your audience.
50 Cool Cafe Name Ideas to Inspire You
When choosing a name for your new cafe, there are so many options and ways to approach it that the process can be a little dizzying. Do you want your name to be funny? Minimalist? Simple? Elegant? Cute? Inviting? No matter what you choose, it can also be helpful to look to other cafes for inspiration. Here’s 50 of the best cafe names around the county.
Cute Cafe Names
1. Bird & Wolf – North Andover, MA
2. Sips Cafe – Miami, FL
3. Mom ’n ‘Em Coffee – Cincinnati, OH
4. Little Goat Coffee Roasting Co – Newark, DE
5. La La Land Kind Café – Dallas, TX
Unique Cafe Names
6. Tiger Sugar – Boston, MA
7. Dayglow – Los Angeles, CA
8. Interstellar – Los Angeles, CA
9. VanillaBlack – Los Angeles, CA
10. Book Club – New York, NY
11. Stay Golden – Nashville, TN
12. Never Coffee – Portland, OR
13. Flour Bakery + Cafe – Boston, MA
14. Syndicate – Los Angeles, CA
15. Fox in the Snow – Columbus, OH
16. Little Pearl – Washington, DC
17. Daydream Surf Shop – Newport Beach, CA
18. Caffeine Dreams – Omaha, NE
19. Not Just Coffee – Charlotte, NC
20. Espresso a Mano – Pittsburgh, PA
21. Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters – Lakewood, CO
22. Heart – Portland, OR
23. Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters – San Francisco, SF
Clever Cafe Names
24. Better Half Coffee & Cocktails – Austin, TX
25. Crema – Denver, CO
26. Four Letter Word – Chicago, IL
27. Double Shot – Tulsa, OK
28. 3 Little Figs – Somerville, MA
29. SIPHON COFFEE – Houston, TX
30. Dark Matter – Chicago, IL
31. Caffeina Roasting Company – Boise, ID
32. Hopper & Burr – Santa Ana, CA
33. Quiero Cafe - Portland, ME
Rhyming + Alliterative Cafe Names
34. Leaping Lizard Cafe — Virginia Beach, VA
35. Cocoa Cinnamon – Durham, NC
36. Harless + Hugh Coffee – Bay City, MI
37. The Boy & The Bear – Redondo Beach, CA
38. Pedal & Pour – Las Vegas, NV
39. Composition Coffee – West Palm Beach, FL
40. Bloom & Plume Coffee – Los Angeles, CA
41. Cat & Cloud – Santa Cruz, CA
42. Color Coffee – Eagle, CO
Funny Cafe Names
43. Hip Stirs Coffee House — Brookville, OH
44. Cafe Jumping Bean – Chicago, IL
45. Cafe Grumpy – Coral Gables, FL
46. Hot and Cool Cafe – Los Angeles, CA
47. Purple Llama – Chicago, IL
48. Cryptozoology – Denton, TX
49. Kaffeine – London, UK
50. Little Amps Coffee Roasters – Harrisburg, PA
Cafe name? Check.
Once you’ve chosen your cafe name, the next (dozen) steps toward cafe ownership open up to you. Build out your cafe business plan to plot the way forward and soon enough you’ll start your workday by being greeted with the smell of freshly ground coffee.
Related Cafe Related Resources
Thinking of opening a coffee shop? Here’s a checklist and the average cost to start a cafe.
Restaurant Opening Calculator
This calculator lays out some of the fundamental financial costs of opening a restaurant, so you can start planning and bring your dream restaurant to life.