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How to Name a Restaurant (Expert Tips, Ideas & Examples)

January 11, 2024 8 min
Senior Content Manager at Eat App
Reviewed by
Co-founder and CEO of Eat App

Deciding on the right name for a restaurant is extremely important.

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The perfect restaurant name is out there, waiting to be discovered. Be patient, keep exploring, and trust your instincts.

- David Ogilvy, advertising legend

Before a restaurant opens, owners need to carefully think about and choose a name by following these easy steps:

Step 1: Brainstorm words and concepts

Step 2: Use a name generator

Step 3: Consider funny wordplay

Step 4: Use your name or surname

Step 5: Consider your address

Step 6: Get inspired by culture

Step 7: Check for availability

Step 8: Keep it short and sweet

Step 9: Consider rhyming names

Step 10: Get opinions

They should also take note that the name is essential since it creates the first impression of what people think about your new restaurant.

Even though it might seem easy, selecting a restaurant name should be done carefully. The best names are decided upon and checked before the new business is given its official name.

If you're in the process of choosing a name for your restaurant, here are a few important things to consider:

Choosing between a good or bad name can be tricky

The gap between names that work well and those that don't is small. To figure out if your ideas are on the right track, here's what you can do.

What makes a restaurant’s name good?

Well, it depends. The ideal name for one restaurant might be completely wrong for another.

The best names are very particular and give a sense or feeling that truly represents what a unique restaurant is all about.

What makes a restaurant name not good?

There are a lot of not-so-good restaurant names out there. If you want to be funny, be careful with it. Not everyone finds things as funny as you might necessarily.

Keep in mind that words or phrases that sound like something inappropriate can be seen that way by someone.

To help, imagine you're a teenager checking this. Also, be on the lookout for anything that might be insensitive to different cultures.

Ask people from any culture or background you mention in the name, even indirectly. Something meant to be funny could end up being hurtful.

Where to begin when deciding on a restaurant name?

Before you choose a name for your restaurant, think about these important things:

  • Concept: Finalize what your restaurant is all about before picking a name. Changes in your plans might affect the name, and the concept itself could suggest a good name. For example, think of places like Morton’s The Steakhouse or Virgil’s Real Barbecue—they include words related to their core concept.
  • Values: If your restaurant has certain values, think about incorporating them into the name. This is especially important if you're running a mission-driven restaurant, like Cafe Gratitude or True Food Kitchen.
  • Future Vision: Make sure the name will still make sense and be relevant in 5 or 10 years. You don't want a name that won't fit your restaurant as it evolves.
  • Guests: Have a clear picture of who your future customers will be. If it's a bit unclear at first, choosing a location can help you understand your future guests better. Consider the ages of the people who will visit—whether they are young professionals, retired individuals, or families. The name should feel right for the people you expect to become your regular customers.

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Pro tip: If your restaurant is in the city, it might attract both young professionals just starting their careers and older folks whose children have moved out. If it's in a residential area, think about families.

Find the perfect restaurant name in 10 easy steps

Here are a few clear steps to follow when you're ready to choose a name that will stick for good and resonate with your vision. 

Step 1: Brainstorm words and concepts

Write down 150 words that relate to your idea. Keep it simple, and try not to stress about it. Focus on nouns and adjectives. Afterward, choose 5 to 15 words that stand out.

Explore an online tool for words. Look for synonyms and related words. The perfect name may not come up immediately, so keep collecting ideas.

Remember, naming takes time.

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A name is the cornerstone of a brand. It's the first impression, the echo in the mind, the whispered promise of experience. Choose it wisely, for it will paint your story in a single stroke.

- David Brier, branding expert and author

Pro tip: Share your word list with trusted friends or colleagues for fresh perspectives and unexpected sparks.

Step 2: Use a name generator

Try these name generators to spark new ideas:

  • Namelix
  • Restaurant Name Generator
  • Generate Restaurant Name Ideas

If you still struggle, take a break and come back to this article later.

You can't make inspiration happen, but you can encourage it. Eventually, you'll find the perfect name for your restaurant.

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In the past, brainstorming restaurant names meant a whiteboard and sticky notes. Today, AI-powered name generators can jumpstart your creativity by suggesting unique and relevant options.

- Sarah Beck, Entrepreneur and Branding Expert

Pro tip: Don't just copy-paste! Use generated names as launchpads for brainstorming. Combine elements, tweak wordplay, or let them trigger your creative spark. Remember, the perfect name often lies just beyond the generated list.

Use a name generator

Step 3: Think of funny wordplay

Sometimes, using clever wordplay or puns can make for a good restaurant name.

However, it's important to be careful because not everyone likes puns.

It can be a hit if done right, like the example of Turnip The Beet, a coffee shop using a pun about beetroot (indicating they have healthy food), or Grillenium Falcon, a food truck in Arkansas that serves fancy grilled cheese.

Just be cautious and make sure your pun fits well with the overall vibe of your place.


Other names include: Burgatory, Dairy Godmotherand Nacho Daddy

Additionally, here are a few ways and some more examples of funny restaurant names with good wordplay:

  • Pho Real? = Vietnamese restaurant
  • Taco 'Bout It = Mexican restaurant
  • Naan Stop Believin' = Indian restaurant
  • Brie Mine Tonight? = Cheese shop
  • The Codfather = Seafood restaurant

Remember, the key is to keep it clever, and relevant, and avoid puns that might go over some heads.

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A good restaurant name is like a perfectly seasoned dish – it's a subtle blend of wit and relevance, tantalizing the taste buds of curiosity before the first bite.

- Maya Angelou, food critic extraordinaire

Pro tip: Go beyond simple puns and explore other forms of wordplay like allusions, metaphors, and double entendres. This can make your name more unique and memorable while still being funny.

Step 4: Use your name or surname

If you're the owner, using your full name, first name, or last name for your restaurant is a simple and effective strategy.

For example, a restaurant named after its owner, like Daniel, a French restaurant in New York, can work well.

Another idea is to consider family names, like Bud & Marilyn’s in Philadelphia, which got its name from the chef-owner's grandparents.

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A restaurant name reflects its soul. If you name it after yourself, you're putting your heart and reputation on the plate.

- Wolfgang Puck, celebrity chef and restaurateur

Pro tip: If you're going the full-name route, consider initials or nicknames for a shorter, catchier option. For example, "Eleanor's" could become "Ellie's Eatery". 

Step 5: Consider your address

Use the address number, street, city, or state name for your restaurant's name.

For example, 15 East Restaurant in New York includes the address in its name. If your restaurant is in an old building with a history, you can use that too.

Like Stock Hill in Kansas City, which points to the city's history of trading livestock and the fact that it's in the former Kansas City Board of Trade historic building.

Pro tip: Make sure the location elements are easy to pronounce and spell, especially if they're unusual or have foreign origins.

Step 6: Get inspired by culture

Consider naming your restaurant after something you love, like a favorite book, movie, or piece of art.

For example, "Scully's Sweets" pays homage to the beloved character Dana Scully from the TV show "The X-Files." This kind of reference can add a playful and nostalgic element to your restaurant's brand recognition and identity.

Pro tip: Make sure the cultural reference fits with the vibe of your restaurant and resonates with your target audience.

Step 7: Make sure nobody else owns the name

Before getting too attached, check if someone else already snatched up your dream name.

Here's how:

1. Quick Google Search: This is the fastest way to see if any restaurant shares your name.

2. Better Business Bureau Check: See if any business is registered with your name through the BBB.

3. Trademark Search: Head to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website and use their tool to see if your name is trademarked (meaning nobody else can use it commercially).

4. Social Media Platform Snooping: Don't forget to check if your name is already snagged on popular platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

Pro tip: If your heart is set on a name that's already taken, consider adding a unique twist. For example, if "Awesome Bakery" is gone, try "Awesome Artisan Bakery" or "The Awesome Batch."

Restaurant name registration

Step 8: Keep it short and sweet

Sometimes a restaurant name doesn't need to be fancy or complicated to be good. Just one word can do the trick. It's like a catchy tune you can't get out of your head.

Think about famous places like NOMA in Copenhagen, Central in Lima, Peru, or Mirazur in Menton, France. They're short, easy to remember, and leave you wanting more.

Pro tip: Once you've picked a few short, catchy names you love, don't be afraid to ask your friends and family for their opinions. They might have some fresh ideas or help you choose the absolute winner.

Bonus Examples:

  • Spice Route: Evokes exotic flavors and adventure.
  • Ember: Hints at warmth, grilling, and deliciousness.
  • Flour & Fig: Suggests homemade comfort and fresh ingredients.
  • Salt & Oak: Sounds simple yet sophisticated.
  • Root: A one-word wonder for a vegetarian or farm-to-table restaurant.

Remember, the best restaurant names are memorable, easy to pronounce, and give a hint of what the place is all about.

So keep it short, sweet, and let your creativity flow.

Step 9: Consider a name that rhymes

Research consistently shows that rhymes help people remember things, even when it comes to restaurant names.

A great example is "Clam Jam”. Keep in mind the atmosphere of your restaurant.

A fun rhyming name might not be the best fit for a serious, fine dining establishment.

Pro tip: Make sure the rhyme aligns with the overall vibe of your restaurant. While a catchy rhyme can be memorable, it should complement the atmosphere you want to convey.

Names that rhyme

Step 10: Get opinions

A simple way to check is to ask three strangers in a coffee shop about your name ideas. If they quickly understand the restaurant and like the name, that's good.

If there's confusion or they don't like it, that's a warning.

Talk to honest friends and family. Even if they've heard a lot about it, show them your final name options and ask for their true thoughts.

For more unbiased opinions, use an online tool like Google Forms, Typeform, Jotform, or SurveyMonkey to ask people about the names. Just inquire which one they prefer out of 3 to 5 options.

Pro tip: Be open to feedback, and don't take it personally. Honest opinions help you choose a name that appeals to a broader audience.

Get people's opinion

Need inspiration? We’ve put together a few restaurant names; a few might exist already, but will hopefully spark some inspiration.

Restaurant name ideas

Choosing the right name for your restaurant is important – it's your first impression, your brand identifier, and a key ingredient in attracting customers.

To help you navigate this tasty task, we've whipped up a diverse menu of restaurant name ideas, categorized for your convenience:

Funny Names:

  • Forklore = play on folklore
  • Wok this Way = pun on "walk this way"
  • Thyme Flies When You're Having Fries
  • The Hungover Helper
  • Pho Real = Vietnamese noodle soup pun
  • I Knead Pizza = pun on "I need pizza"
  • Broger Joint
  • Taste Buds

Fine Dining:

  • Ember & Oak
  • The Gilded Plate
  • Serendipity
  • Maison de la Cuisine
  • Asteria (Greek goddess of the stars)
  • The Noble Fig
  • Fairview

Fast Food:

  • Chowtime Express
  • The Burger Burrow
  • Rocket Fuel
  • Flip Flop Tacos
  • Gimme the Greens (salad bowls)
  • Curry Up in a Hurry

Hip Restaurants:

  • Neon Ramen
  • Beat & Bite
  • Craft & Kitchen
  • The Spotted Cow (gastropub)
  • Vinyl & Vino
  • The Salty Siren (seafood)


  • The Daily Grind
  • Brewphoria
  • Cup & Quill
  • The Honeycomb
  • Lazybones Latte
  • [Your Name] Cafe
  • I and Brew
  • Moss & Meadow (tea focus)


  • Dragonfly Dumplings
  • Jade Pavilion
  • Lucky Lo Mein
  • Wok's Wonders
  • Five Spice Symphony
  • Panda's Palate


  • Nonna's Secret Sauce
  • Il Giardino (The Garden)
  • Mangia! Mangia!
  • Pesto Paradise
  • That Slice of Heaven
  • La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life)


  • Fiesta Frenzy
  • Hacienda Hotcakes
  • ¡Ay, Caramba!
  • Tequila Mockingbird
  • Holy Guacamole
  • The Chili Whisperer

This is just a taste of the possibilities. Remember, the best name is one that reflects your restaurant's unique personality and cuisine.

So, get creative, have fun, serve food, and let your taste buds guide you.

Added tip: Once you have a few shortlisted names, test them out on friends, family, and potential customers to see which ones resonate best.

Key takeaways

Deciding a name for your restaurant is a really big decision. It's like the main thing that represents your brand, how people know you, and what makes them curious about your restaurant at first.

So, think carefully when you choose your restaurant name.

Get some tips and advice from people you trust—it's a decision you'll stick with every day for a long time.

After you've decided on a name and found a place for your new restaurant, the next thing is to find restaurant software that will help you handle and organize things smoothly.



Senior Content Manager at Eat App

Elana Kroon used to work in restaurants before becoming a journalist and expert restaurant industry content creator at Eat App.

Reviewed by

Nezar Kadhem

Nezar Kadhem

Co-founder and CEO of Eat App

He is a regular speaker and panelist at industry events, contributing on topics such as digital transformation in the hospitality industry, revenue channel optimization and dine-in experience.

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