What Makes a Catchy Restaurant Name: 10 Creative Naming Tips

As the bard Shakespeare would say, what’s in a name? To others, a name can be simply that, a name. But for businesses, especially restaurants, a name holds immense power. It can make or break your business. Likewise, it can define the success of your restaurant. Together with a few other factors such as effective marketing, quality of service and products.

While the name is not the end-all, be-all of your business, a catchy restaurant name can do wonders for your business. In this post, we’ll be breaking down ten points that make a restaurant name catchy. Also included in this list are tips and tricks to find that creative and unique name that best suits your restaurant.

1. A catchy restaurant name is one that is simple and short.

With everything that your customers have to keep in their busy minds, they possibly can’t be committing to memory your 15-word restaurant name. Nobody just has time for that. 

Hence, a three to four-word restaurant name would be the most ideal. Even better, if your restaurant name can be shortened into an even catchier name; consider it your clientele’s puppy name for your restaurant business. 

Gravy, a restaurant in Portland, Oregon, has a straightforward yet very catchy restaurant name. Denny’s, on the other hand, is a name that just rolls off your tongue so smoothly; you’d be able to say it in a breath or two even while craving delicious breakfast food.

2. Make it funny and unique.

A funny and unique name can easily tickle anyone’s funny bone, thus catching their attention in the process. If you manage to incorporate a pun into your restaurant name, that makes it all better and more fun. 

If the nature of your restaurant business leans more on the less serious side, it will do your business favors if you give it a “punny” name. With a fun name, you can establish a connection with your potential clientele when they are entertained by the level of humor in your restaurant name.

Colorado’s Basic Kneads Pizza and Wyoming’s Thai Me Up Restaurant & Brewery are such clever and pun-tastic restaurant names!

3. Use rhyme or alliteration to create a catchy restaurant name.

Your customers can easily commit to memory the name of your business if it has rhyming elements or has very similar sounds.

For instance, the restaurant name Cork & Cap uses alliteration. While Cork & Fork effectively uses rhyme in its name. For a Grill or BBQ food establishment, the name Friendly Fire also has a nice ring to it!

Any name that rolls easily on your customers’ tongue is one that they can also easily remember.

Here are ten tips to picking a catchy restaurant name
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

4. Add descriptive adjectives.

Using descriptive words in your restaurant name helps appeal more to your clientele’s imagery. Words like tasty, divine, amazing can pique your potential clientele’s interests and taste buds. 

As the ultimate goal of naming your business is keeping it short and sweet, it is important to note that the use of adjectives should not be underwhelming nor exaggerated. The catch: appeal to your customer’s senses (visual, olfactory, taste primarily) without making the name too complex.

5. Get inspiration from your locale, geography, and history of locale.

A restaurant can draw more attention from the locals if its name can be associated with a real thing that is relevant to your locale or setting. You are more likely to attract your desired market if you incorporate a significant facet in history, a famous landmark, or anything remarkable about your restaurant’s specific location.

Even more simply, you can incorporate a portion of your specific location into your restaurant’s name. Restaurants like Famous 4th Street Delicatessen and 5th Avenue Empire Cafe Inc. are successful in bringing the name of their location into their business name.

6. Consider using a foreign language to make a catchy restaurant name.

Naming your business taps into your creativity, so don’t be afraid to explore things outside your comfort zone, even when foreign language is one of them. Using a foreign language in your restaurant name is a sure way for your clientele to recognize the types of cuisine you offer on your menu.

Taking a certain dish from the cuisine you offer and using that name as your restaurant’s would also be pretty genius. Adobo, a famous Filipino dish, can be a great name for any diner that offers Filipino cuisine. 

Mangiamo is a great Italian restaurant name, while Petit Trois in Los Angeles is aptly named for the decadent French cuisine it serves.

On the fence about giving your restaurant a foreign-sounding name because you don’t offer any ethnic/foreign cuisine in particular? Don’t sweat it, you still can give your restaurant a foreign name! Especially if it’s one that’s close to your heart 😉

There's a wide range of catchy restaurant names for any place that offers foreign cuisine.

7. Make a reference to a popular book or movie in your catchy restaurant name.

This tip is not only for film buffs or voracious readers, but for anyone who wants a pop culture reference in their business name. But it surely pays if you already have extensive knowledge of popular and cool movies and books. That way you can seamlessly incorporate the title of a favorite film or novel into your preferred brand name.

Take a look at how Maryland’s Annabel Lee Tavern and Tequila Mockingbird gave a very clever spin to classic Literature titles.

If you’re a coffee shop owner who loves magical AND fantastic worlds like Alice in Wonderland, our Alice in Brewland logo might be perfect for you and your business. 

8. A catchy restaurant name is one that conveys your brand’s story.

If potential clients can see the genuine inspiration or story behind your restaurant or business name, then it’s hard to not appeal to their emotions, and build a connection with them.

9. Pilot test or get feedback from colleagues, fellow business owners, or potential clients.

There can be no better critiques than your fellow entrepreneurs who are also in the restaurant industry. They carry years of expertise and experience, so any feedback about your restaurant name is valuable and can be truly helpful.

Gain advices from your colleagues to find the catchy restaurant name for your business
Photo by Alexander Suhorucov from Pexels

10. Make sure that the catchy restaurant name does not exist yet. 

There are countless sites that can help you generate business names, as there are ways to check for already existing restaurant names. Checking that your business name is not yet taken by another business guarantees that you won’t be mistaken for the other business with the same name. 

You can use Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to check if another business has registered with the same name as yours. 

Ultimately, having a list of names you can gain naming inspiration and ideas from would be a great help. Check out this post where we rounded out 100 fancy restaurant name ideas which can help you get started on naming your restaurant business.

Start brainstorming a catchy restaurant name now!

While it may be a fact that you can’t easily come by a restaurant name that sells, it is important to know points and tips that made other businesses succeed in the restaurant-naming front. Now get those physical/digital notes ready, and start brainstorming the most suitable name for your restaurant!

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