1. Money
Send to a Friend via Email

Video:How to Choose a Restaurant Name

with Jonathan Stewart

Choose a restaurant name carefully, as it sets the tone for your establishment and can help build your brand. Here are tips for choosing a restaurant name that is effective.See Transcript

  • All Videos
  • All Money Videos
  • Franchises Videos

Transcript:How to Choose a Restaurant Name

Owning your own restaurant is a dream of many, and there are so many things to consider when you're setting out, like location, cuisine, decor and menus. However, one of the most important things is the restaurant name, which alone can attract customers or build a brand. While a franchise restaurant already has this covered, here are some tips on choosing your restaurant name when starting from the ground up.

Location Can Help When Choosing a Restaurant Name

First, think about your location. Whether it's a city, a particular neighborhood, a historical building or a nearby attraction, restaurant names are often tied to a locale. For instance, The French Laundry in Napa Valley, California is named after the building, which once was a French steam laundry during the 19th century.

Consider Themes When Choosing a Restaurant Name

You might also think about the theme of your restaurant, including the menu, culinary specialty, and décor. While this is particularly easy for specific ethnic restaurants, such as Chinese or Mexican, you might need to think a bit more if your theme will be eclectic. Just be sure to avoid calling your restaurant Don Juan's if you are actually going to be serving Italian food, or skip the name Giovanni's if the menu is all about sushi. Help customers out by providing the right keywords that help describe what you are serving. Just know this information can also be included a tagline that goes with the restaurant's name, or is part of the logo. Unless you’re opening up a Thai place, in which case I think there may be laws mandating that you actually use the word Thai in your title.

Think Fun and Personal When Choosing a Restaurant Name

You can also choose to personalize the name after yourself or a beloved family member -- perhaps one whose recipes you are using as the basis of your menu. Not only does this create a good story for publicity, but it can also send the message to your customers that you are a caring and sentimental proprietor, that coming to your restaurant may then feel like going home to eat.

The restaurant name game doesn't have to be completely serious or stuffy. While it is important, there can be an element of fun to it. Whether it is a slang word, a made-up word, or play-on words, coming up with something playful and unique often makes you stand out in the crowd. A little neighborhood chicken joint in Hollywood gets my vote here––it's called Birds.

Don't Use Trademarks When Choosing a Restaurant Name

Lastly, there is a definite "don't" when it comes to naming a restaurant. Do not use a name that has been trademarked or even comes close to a potential trademarked name. This only creates legal problems, and that is no way to start off your restaurant business. To make sure you are not stepping on anyone's toes, do a trademark search of all the names you come up with and make sure your name will be approved in the state you are doing business. Which is why McDowell's just wouldn't cut it in the real world.

Just remember that your restaurant name creates an impression in potential customers' minds of what you may be offering, so choose carefully. People don’t waltz into Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles looking for a steak. Mmmm. Roscoes.

I'm Jonathon Stewart, with About.com.

About videos are made available on an "as is" basis, subject to the User Agreement.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.