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Thinking of starting your own small restaurant? Now’s the time to do it. After a tough hit from COVID-19, restaurants are rebounding, and the foodservice industry is expected to hit $898B in sales in 2022.
One of the first steps in building your business is choosing the right name. It’ll be attached to your branding forever, and lead people to your business. That means your small restaurant’s name has to be something you love and one that represents your business effectively.
Here are four major steps for identifying the right name for your restaurant, along with ideas to further inspire your new and exciting business venture!
How do I choose a small restaurant business name?
It all starts with brainstorming. Here are a few ideas to jumpstart your name idea-generating process:
- Write down your vision for your small restaurant business, focusing on its mission and core values
- Make sure your small restaurant business name isn’t already taken
- Play around with a name generator to spark new ideas
- Reach out to your community for name ideas
What are good small restaurant business names?
A great name is unique to your business. It should stick in the minds of your patrons, reminding them of your brand and representing your personality. Your name should also reflect what goods and services your business offers. It should be simple to remember and spell so that potential patrons can easily find you on Google or social media.
1. Write down your vision for your small restaurant business
Start thinking about your mission statement, which describes who you are, why you’re here, and what you plan to accomplish as a new enterprise in your community. These details will all be a major influence on your business’ name. Then use the exercise below to get your creative juices flowing.
Grab a pen and paper and write down the following:
- The kind of food you’ll be offering
- Your core values and mission
- The personality and vibe of your small restaurant
- Adjectives you’d use to describe your small restaurant
- Your name (and the name of your business partners, if any)
- Any family names that are important to you
- The neighborhood or town where your small restaurant will be located
The purpose of this exercise is to pull out words and phrases that describe your business, which may make up part or all of its name.
When you run out of things to add, go back and read over your list of words and phrases, circling your favorites. These will all be building blocks for your future small restaurant’s name.
2. Choose a name that isn’t already taken
Needless to say, it’s important to make sure your name doesn’t already exist. Once you've settled on a handful of contenders, run each one through the following resources to ensure they aren’t already in use by existing businesses.
- Google search
- Google My Business
- The Yellow Pages
- The Better Business Bureau
- The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark database search
Be thorough with your research, as copyright infringement can come with steep penalties. To learn more about copyright infringement, visit Copyright.gov.
3. Use a name generator to spark new ideas.
To get through writer’s block, name generators are an excellent tool to inspire different word combinations you hadn’t considered before.
Some generators ask for guidance in the form of keywords, while others simply assemble random combinations of words. No matter the generator, it’s good to have your keyword shortlist on hand.
Sure, some of the suggested names and combos will be unusable. But, they’ll still help you determine what you like and what you don’t.
Business Name Generators to Use
- Namelix Restaurant Name Generator
- Buzztime Restaurant Name Generator
- Fantasy Name Generators' Restaurant Name Generator
- Business Name Generator
- Kopywriting Kourse Restaurant Name Generator
4. Reach out to your community for ideas
Most people who start small restaurants do so to create something special for their community. One way to do this is by building a relationship with locals from day one. Asking them to contribute to the name brainstorming process is a fantastic way to get them excited for your launch.
Social media is an excellent platform for community-building. You can reach out through social media, using strategic posts and engagement. Think about asking your community to suggest names or vote on your favorites through Instagram or Facebook posts and stories.
To build traction around your social media posts, consider including a raffle, giveaway, or future discounts for those who participate. Get creative with this! The more unique and special your offer, the more likely people will contribute their name ideas.
50 Real Small Restaurant Name Ideas to Inspire You
Taking name inspiration from successful restaurants is never a bad idea. These names can help you identify the theme and style you’re going for. Do you want your name to be creative? To rhyme? Or just be funny? No matter what style you’re aiming for, these established small restaurant names will lend a hand in your process.
Here are 50 of the best small restaurant business names around the country:
Creative Small Restaurant Business Names
- Art of the Table – Seattle, WA
- Love You Latte – Glendale, CA
- Minibar – Washington, D.C.
- The Little Kitchen – Dublin, OH
- Pizzetta 211 – San Francisco, CA
- Gather – Chicago, IL
- 3 Doors Down Cafe – Portland, OR
- Picnic House – Portland, OR
- House of Cards – Nashville, TN
- Born and Raised – San Diego, CA
Unique Small Restaurant Business Names
- Pomodoro – Boston, MA
- House of Tricks – Tempe, AZ
- Little Owl – New York, NY
- Gatsby’s – Houston, TX
- Parm – New York, NY
- Malt – Newport, RI
- Herb & Wood – San Diego, CA
- Rolf & Daughters – Nashville, TN
- Glass Door – San Diego, CA
- Petite Jacqueline – Portland, ME
- Buttermilk Kitchen – Atlanta, GA
- Rainbow Lodge – Houston, TX
- Pasta Sisters – Los Angeles, CA
- The Frog & The Peach – New Brunswick, NJ
- farm : table – San Francisco, CA
- Field & Tides – Houston, TX
- The Fireside – Portland, OR
- Pinch Kitchen – Miami, FL
Rhyming or Alliterative Small Restaurant Business Names
- Talula’s Table – Philadelphia, PA
- Ten Tables – Boston, MA
- Traveler’s Table – Houston, TX
- Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge – Seattle, WA
- The Tin Table – Seattle, WA
- Tea for Two Tea Room – Houston, TX
- Spoke & Steele – Indianapolis, IN
- Cane & Canoe – Lahaina, HI
- Ivy Inn – Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
- Girl & The Goat – Chicago, IL
- Breat & Butterfly – Atlanta, GA
- Ella Elli – Chicago, IL
Funny Small Restaurant Business Names
- Dirty Franks – Columbus, OH
- Better Luck Tomorrow – Houston, TX
- Saltie Girl – Boston, MA
- Sushi Zone – San Francisco, CA
- How to Cook a Wolf – Seattle, WA
- Tiny Lou’s – Atlanta, GA
- Just Restaurant – Old Bridge, NJ
- Red Gravy – Colorado Springs, CO
- Misto! – Kittery, ME
- Little Giant – Portland, ME
Restaurant Name? Check.
Once you’ve picked your name, it’s time to take the next steps towards small restaurant success. That means building your business plan and plotting the path forward. Soon enough, you’ll be the go-to spot for everyone in town.