The name of your restaurant is more important than you think it is. You have conceptualized the restaurant, planned every little detail from the menu to the vibe, but if your restaurant name fails to capture the essence of your vision then it all may end up going to waste. Your restaurant name is what the customers will know and remember you by, they will associate you with the emotions the name creates and think of your restaurant by ascribing the connotations that come with its name. Thus, you would want to give your restaurant the perfect name which summarises what you want to stand for in your customer’s memories. But how is the question. For that, you must consider some things before getting on with the process of finalizing your restaurant name.
Things To Consider While Deciding Your Restaurant Name
Before actually getting in the process of choosing a name for your restaurant, there are some things that you should consider to make an informed choice of name. The name of your restaurant will be forging its identity since its inception and so it is of utmost importance that the name be such that it will not die out or not create any recall value. The name must deliver the brand its image and be intriguing and catchy to customers. Here are some things to consider before finalizing your restaurant name:-
1. The Restaurant Name Should be Short, Simple and Catchy
While deciding the name keep it short, simple and catchy. Over-complex names will drive customers away. Names that are difficult to pronounce do not create any recall value and offer no help to build your brand. You also miss out on word of mouth marketing which can cost you more money than you ever thought. Also, a short and simple name would be easy to expand under as regionally or even continentally it will be just as simple to pronounce as it is in its native tongue. Longer names that may do well in the place of origin can face difficulty in later stages of expansion.
2. The Name Should Be Unique
While your restaurant name should be short and catchy, it should also be unique. This uniqueness can come from a pun in the name, the way you spell it or simply by the name itself. Having a unique name will differentiate you from the rest and form an image that stands out in the customers’ mind. Generic names may end up inviting legal consequences but even if they do not, they will certainly not give you the return rate that a unique name will give.
3. The Name Should Appeal to the Target Audience
Name your restaurant in accordance with your target audience. This is so because, with your restaurant’s name, you want to strike a relationship with your audience and help them relate to your concept. If you name your restaurant something that your target group is not familiar with or does not relate to, it will be a useless activity, for example if you name a bar for middle-aged professionals something like The Bike Bar, no one from your target audience would show up but a number of college kids who cannot afford your alcohol might walk in.
4. The Name Should Catch the Essence of the Restaurant
The name of the restaurant should relate its essence to the customers. As said earlier the name exists to bridge the gap between customers expectations and the restaurant’s concept. If the name itself is not relevant to the concept, id it does not portray what the restaurant’s idea is, what the restaurant stands for and what to expect out of the restaurant, then the name is ineffective and serves no purpose. A good name always gives the customer an idea about what to expect for example while ‘The Corner Cafe’ is an okay name for a cafe where people can come to read and work something like ‘ The Book Hole Cafe’ will deliver a much clearer image and attract your target audience.
5. The Name Should Leave Room for Innovation
The name of your restaurant is forever and so is the concept but not everything that you serve or the way you work. The name should leave room for innovation or else you may find the need to restrict yourself to the limitations of the name while innovating. This is especially a problem when this limitation comes from something that is not a part of your USP. A Chinese restaurant, for example, may want to innovate and serve Tibetan or Thai food but if the name is ‘China Land’ there is little chance that these menu innovations will go far.
6. What Names Have Your Competitors Chosen?
While looking at and considering names, it is significant to note that you can and should also note the names that your competitors have chosen. Seeing what they have based their names on can give you ideas for your own but better still it can tell you what pattern to not name your restaurant on in order to stand out. For example, if you want to run a pizza place and most of your competitors have names inspired by the main chef you can go a different route by calling yourself ‘Everybody Loves Pizza’.
7. Is There a Backstory to the Name?
Is there a story behind why you opened the restaurant or behind the recipes with which you cook or simply behind the place that you have chosen as your location? If so use the backstory in your name. This will create an instant connection to your customers and give your restaurant a personality depth and intriguing history both will attract new customers. Names like ‘Grandma’s Sweet Shop’ or ‘The Turkish Delights’ have a greater pull value than ‘All About Desserts’ or ‘ The Snack Bar’.
8. Even the Location Can Inspire Your Restaurant Name
If the location of your restaurant is a significant or a heritage site or even something that your competitors have not cashed upon, you can base your name on it for example if you are opening a drive-through in Mumbai you can name it ‘The Marine Drive’. Even if you expand to other cities, since Marine Drive is such a significant location, everyone will get the reference.
The Process of Choosing Your Restaurant Name
When confused go step-by-step. The process of choosing a name is mostly a creative one but when that does not help, it is better to organize things a little so your head is clearer. Follow this process to choose a name.
1. Pen All the Wild Thoughts
While thinking about a name the most disorienting thing that happens is that words and phrases fly by you. Before you can completely form one ide another rushes by. The best way to handle this is to create an organized mess on a piece of paper, a whiteboard or a doc form. When you do this you basically create a memo of all the thoughts that flew past you and can come back to them without worrying. It also gives you more time to actually construct your ideas without missing out on them what is more is that when you write down ideas, you progress from ideas most in front of you to ideas that are yet unexplored. This is where all the unique names will be built from.
2. Highlight What Stands Out
Next step is to look at the organized mess of words, phrases, alphabets literally everything that you have written and walk away. Listen to a song, make coffee whatever but do not think of it for 15 minutes. Now when you come back, make a mental image of your restaurant. Think about the place, the interior, the vibe, the music the customers and staff and how it would look in an ideal world when it is rush hour and everything is going great! Now, this is the essence of your restaurant and this feeling that you feel is what the customer must feel when it listens to the name of your restaurant. With this essence projected in your mind, highlight all the words and phrases that seem to go with it.
3. Draw Out the Options
Now that you have these highlights, put your organized mess behind and work around these. Try to draw out the options for your restaurant name from these. You can join these to form names or add to them. Just recreate the essence of your restaurant using these words.
4. Create a Focus Group
Now that you have a list of names, create a list of people who are in your target audience. Do not just limit yourself to family and friends or people of a certain area or school. Create a random focus group and invite them over.
5. Understand How the Customers Perceive The Names
Tell your focus group your name options and ask them how they perceive the restaurant based on these options alone. Do they imagine the restaurant the way you have or do they imagine something totally different. Which restaurant based on the name alone are they more likely to explore. What vibe do they get from the name of the restaurant. How do they imagine the mood inside to be. All these are important answers that you will need to land that perfect restaurant name.
6. Keep An Open Mind
Next, ask for suggestions. Ask your focus group what could be improved, what they particularly disliked in a name, what they particularly liked, you can even ask them suggestions for the name. Their ideas may just end up giving you better clarity and inspiration for your name as well. Do not criticize someone for not liking something you say. Yes you worked hard to reach the name and you cannot please everyone but even so better ideas may flow once you listen to someone else. Also, the entire purpose of this activity is to test audience reaction, both positive and negative.
Naming a restaurant is like naming a baby. You need to be very careful because the name of the restaurant is the unique identity with which it will forever be known. This name can impact its salles, marketability, brand value and what not. Follow this guide in order to choose the perfect restaurant name so that you do not regret later.