How to Come Up With a Winning Restaurant Name


You wouldn’t expect to eat a fantastic cheeseburger at Duchess’s Victorian Tea Room. You’re not likely to get a stack of pancakes at Vicky’s House of Fries.

What’s in a name? Everything. One important thing to keep in mind, restaurants need names that sum up the dining experience your customers will have. For example, your name may tell people they’ve chosen a Middle Eastern or Italian restaurant, or Chipotle Mexican grill.

What is a good name for a restaurant?

Some of the best restaurants have a couple things in common with their names:

  • The owner’s or chef’s name
  • The type of food/cuisine type
  • The location

You can get those key elements into one name, such as Suzie’s Main Street Tea Scones. That tells customers everything they need to know.

But are you likely to easily remember that name? Or would you be more likely to remember a name like Sconehenge?

How do you create a restaurant name?

The best ways to create small business names for a restaurant is by using business name generators, or by brainstorming with friends and family, or both.

In this article, we’ll give you all the specific tips you need for how to create a business name.

18 Ideas to Choose the Perfect Restaurant Name and Get Noticed

These examples of names for restaurants should get your creative juices flowing.

1. Keep it Short

Short names are easy to remember and lend themselves to Apps, your logo and social media. They pop up easily in a search query.

Here are some examples:

  • Spago (an Italian restaurant name, Spago means spaghetti in Italian)
  • Burgrill (grilled burgers)
  • Indulge (all desserts)
  • Fruce (fruit and juice)
  • Kebabsville

2. Include Puns in Restaurant Names

Puns make cool restaurant names and are a top pick in restaurant name ideas. Puns are memorable. Using a pun in a name also conveys that the restaurant may have a certain relaxed atmosphere. As name ideas rate, using a pun is a top choice:

  • Pine and Dine
  • Juan in a Million
  • The Codfather
  • Basic Kneads
  • Lord of the Fries

3. Make Restaurant Names Memorable

Some restaurant names are truly unforgettable. They are unique and convey atmosphere. What do you expect in New York New York from Lox Stock and Bagle?

Here are a few more memorable names:

  • Rusty Pelican
  • Filled of Dreams
  • Hungry’s Kitchen
  • Blue Plate
  • The Little Easy

4. Add Some Humor

The whole world needs more humor, not just restaurants. Restaurateurs obviously have fun with that concept:

  • Sconehenge
  • Planet of the Crepes
  • He’s Not Here
  • Lettuce Be Frank
  • Kale Me Crazy

5. Use a Unique Spelling

Using a unique spelling can be effective, but it can also be tricky. You don’t want to make it difficult for your customers to find you.

But using a unique spelling an really make restaurants stand out from the lineup:

  • Thaitonic
  • Phobidden Fruit
  • Garden of Eat’n
  • Pita Pan

6. Use a Unique Symbol for Your Restaurant

Unique symbols work well as offshoots from restaurant names. They are also memorable as logos on the side of a food truck.

For example, the name of the restaurant can easily “become” the symbol. The unique symbol becomes easily recognized and is part of the restaurants identity:

  • The Red Door
  • The Lazy Bear
  • The Plumed Horse
  • Full Moon
  • Cafe Coyote

7. Encourage Brand Identity and Recognition for Your Restaurant Name

Brand recognition is important. There are restaurant names that lend themselves to brands. Being easily brandable also means that the name is something that’s lends itself to a smooth franchise venture. In other words, the restaurant name can easily become a brand name:

  • The Great Impasta
  • Wok This Way
  • Bite Me Sandwiches
  • Crabby Hut
  • Snacksbar

8. Add Rhyme to Your Restaurant Name

Rhymes in a name make a restaurant establishment easy – and fun – to remember:

  • Oh Dough
  • Pies and Thighs
  • Chops N Hops
  • Cork and Fork
  • Rice and Spice

9. Name Your Restaurant After the Food You Serve

When you name your restaurant after food, that gives people confidence that there expectations will be met. They’ll know before they arrive at your door whether to expect bbq meals or an Italian restaurant, for example.

Here are some names of restaurants that hint at the menu cuisine type inside:

  • Nim Com Soup
  • Sushi Jackies
  • Backyard Bowls
  • Pitaburg
  • The Chocolate Log

10. Name Your Restaurant after a Place or Thing Close to You

Naming a restaurant after a geographic feature makes its location memorable. For example, stand out from other pizza shops by letting your customers know where you are: Bleeker Street Pizza or Montgomery Park Pizza.

You can use a street, neighborhood or area name, such as Banker’s Hill Deli or Fog Harbor Fishhouse.

Maybe you’re a fan of a national sport, such as baseball, or a movie aficionado. You could chose a name such as Starting Lineup or Reel to Real Food. And the restaurant concept would continue with the inside decorations.

11. Make Sure the Restaurant Name is Inclusive

The word Inclusive can be used to describe your restaurant. It means that the full meal is included on your tab, without extra charges. This is typically done by resorts and of course, cruise ships.

Here’s how it usually works. The diner orders a la cart from a menu. The meal can include salad, soup, the main course and dessert.

Items that aren’t always Inclusive are drinks, tips and taxes. If a restaurant offers Inclusive faire, any extra charges that diners may incur should be clearly stated. Otherwise, customers may dine and whine.

12. Use Family Names in Your Restaurant

Using a family name or nickname for your restaurant can give people a feeling of familiarity with it. As business names go, a family name can help establish a family tradition of restaurant ownership. Customers may return for generations as the restaurant is run by successive generations. Here are some solid family restaurant names already in operation for decades:

  • Mario’s
  • Poole’s Diner
  • Duke’s Seafood
  • Norma’s
  • Tiny’s

13. Try Location-Based Restaurant Names

Los Angeles California, Washington D.C, North Carolina, New York New York or Providence, Rhode Island? Customers can easily determine where restaurants are located by the direct reference to a place in their names:

  • Hudson River Eats (New York New York)
  • Helms Bakery District (Los Angeles, California)
  • Busboys and Poets – 14th and V (Washington DC)
  • Providence Oyster Bar (Providence, Rhode Island)

14. Use a Name from a Different Language

Using a different language can be a mistake in restaurant name ideas. How long will it take customers to learn and remember the name? A well-placed article in local media can help as you open your doors.

Yet by the same token, unique restaurant names can be a key to their identities. Here are a few to give you ideas and whet your appetite:

  • Sur un Arbre Perche – Diners sit on swings as they eat.
  • Pot Au Feu – French cuisine
  • Cibo Matto – Translates to “crazy food” in Italian\
  • Le Parfait – Desserts are the specialty.

15. Evoke Emotion in Your Customers

Restaurant names can reveal the personality and values of the owner. Restaurant names can be more than a clue to the type of establishment where you’ll be dining:

  • Chill Out Kitchen
  • The Tipsy Cow
  • Rich Table
  • Barefoot Grill
  • Have a Rice Day

16. Play with Words for a Unique Restaurant Business Name

While you shouldn’t play with your food, you can certainly play with words as you choose your restaurant name. Play with words as you’re playing with restaurant name ideas:

  • 16 Handles
  • Tequila Mockingbird Grill
  • Brew’d Awakening
  • Egglectic Dish
  • Wild Thyme Cafe

17. Reflect Your Restaurant Personality

Use descriptive words in your restaurant name to give people a sense of what to expect from the dining experience. What kind of place is it? Family values? Or rowdy bar and grill?

Descriptive words are a big part of a restaurant name.

For example, a diner expects varying experiences from a “kitchen” versus a “Gourmet Boutique.” Restaurants can be bistros, taverns, lodges, cafes, grills, delis, inns and more.

When you’re mulling over restaurant name ideas, remember that one descriptive word can give a sense of what your restaurant is like. There’s a huge difference between Henry’s Inn, where you expect an upscale menu, and Henry’s Kitchen, where you expect comfort food.

18. Ask People from the Local Community And Further Afield

Think of it as free marketing. Having trouble with restaurant name ideas? Involve your future customers and local media in your quest for the perfect name for your restaurant:

  • Have a contest, announce it in an article in local media.
  • Have an open house
  • Have people pick a favorite of several restaurant names
  • Use the internet, social media and a newspaper article to promote the contest
  • Have test runs using various restaurant names

How to Use Restaurant Name Generators

Using restaurant business name generators can yield surprising results. A restaurant name generator result may be a mix of letters – but many successful establishments have gotten their restaurant names from a generator.

It’s a good place to start, and it’s a good place to end when you’re getting stale on restaurant name ideas for your business.

There are many restaurant names generator sites for you to try:

  • Namelix
  • Buzztime Restaurant Name Finder
  • Fantasy Name Generators
  • Kopywriting Kourse
  • BizNameWiz Eatery Names Generator

The Naming Process

Let’s review. Make a list of the things that make your restaurant stand out from others. Then use that list and compare it to names you are considering.

Make Sure the Name Reflects Your Restaurant Vision

Do you want your business to be like a down home kitchen, where a traditional dish is the norm, and diners are comfortable in their blue jeans?

Or do you want linen tablecloths, fancy tableware, a wine list, a gourmet dish?

Your name should be in line with which one you are.

Think Carefully about your Target Audience

Will your restaurant be a draw for all age groups or just target one? What hours will you be open?

Having “Bar and Grill” in the name may make families choose another destination.

Make Sure the Name is Original

Check the USPTO database to make sure your restaurant name isn’t already taken.

Make Sure the Name Is Easy to Pronounce

If the name isn’t easy to pronounce, it’s not going to be easy to remember.

Make Sure the Name is Marketable?

A good name makes it easy for you to spread the word about your business. Make sure the name is short, and conveys the type of cuisine you offer.

Steps to Take Before Finalizing Your Restaurant Name

You’ve got your top 5 or so names. Now what?

Brainstorm Your Best Ideas

Now’s the time to involve friends, family and the local community. You may have a favorite, but should consider what the majority of people favor.

Test Your Final Few Names

Before you check your final names, make sure they are available (see below). Now’s the time for the restaurant owner to test the finalists. Have a contest, involve social media. It’s all part of building your opening day hype.

Check the Availability of Your Favorite Name

Check Domain Name Availability

You can use online services such as Namecheckr and NameChk to see if your name has been taken. You can also do a google and social media search.

Check Trademark Availability

Once you’ve checked with USPTO and learned your trademark is available, register it quickly.

You can use the online Trademark Electronic Application System. It’s free to use the online App, put you can expect to pay from $300-900 to register your trademark. The process will take about 6 months. Also, register your logo.

Carry Out Competitor Analysis

Research the history of the restaurants in your area – the ones in operation, and the ones that have failed. What type of cuisine is offered? What’s the style of the place, and the locations? Keeping an eye on competitors is an important step before you open, and it’s an important step as you run your business.

Marketing Your Restaurant

You should make sure your restaurant belongs to various search engines, such as Yelp and Expedia. Some restaurants pay extra to appear first.

The search engines have categories that can help customers decide where to go. For example, categories include offering a deal, good for groups, has tv, good for kids, reservations required (or not), wheel chair accessible, dogs allowed, military/senior discounts.

Popular Restaurant Adjectives

Here’s a list of 10 common restaurant adjectives and phrases:

Fine, finest, gourmet, tasty, home-style, generous portions, cuisine, fine dining, unique, mouth-watering.

Big City Restaurant Name Examples

Let’s have fun with a few more memorable restaurant names from various areas:

You’ll know you’re in Washington D.C if you’re dining at Founding Fathers or DC Noodles.

Life of Pie Bistro and Boutique is a standout with a very clever name! It’s a play of course on Life of Pi, and located in Abilene, Texas.

The California coast is known for its seafood restaurants, such as Hog Island Oyster Company (Marshall, California) and Old Fisherman’s Grotto (Monterey, California).

In big cities, restaurant names often include street or neighborhood names, such as Clinton Street Baking Company, New York City.

North Carolina is diverse, with a sprawling shoreline and mountains. You’ll know where you are at Smoky Mountains Barbeque or Cape Fear Boil Company.

Flying into Toronto? It’s easy to find Richmond Station restaurant. If you’re away from home and in need of home cooking, it’s a sure bet that Grandma Loves You restaurant will fit the bill.

Image: Depositphotos

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Lisa Price Lisa Price is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 4 years. She has a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism from Shippensburg State College (Pennsylvania). She is also a freelance writer and previously worked as a newspaper circulation district manager and radio station commercial writer. In 2019, Lisa received the (Pennsylvania) Keystone Award.