The Art of Naming Your Business: The Restaurant Technique

Flickr Photo by Chris Metcalf

What’s the name of your favorite restaurant? Great restaurants have great names.

There are many good theories and strategies for naming your business. But I think restaurants are great resources for naming your business. In fact if you want to know if you have a good business name, try it out as a restaurant name first.

Would you eat at these restaurants?
First I’ll give you a restaurant name using traditional business naming techniques. Then, I’ll give you the name of a more palatable real restaurant. You tell me which one you would prefer:

Using the initials of owners technique:
J & B Steakhouse OR Cheeves Bros. Steak House

Using a geographic locator technique:
Tri-County Bistro OR Diamond Back’s Texas Bistro
Central Illinois Grille OR Green Room Grille

Trying to get listed first in the phone book technique:
AAA Seafood OR El Siete Mares

Boastful superlative technique:
Quality Mexican OR La Fiesta
Premium Bar-B-Que OR Uncle Dan’s

Made up words technique:
Tastalicious Pizza OR Poppa Rollo’s

Flickr Photo by Rick Audet


Using The Restaurant Technique to Name Your Business
First take the name you want to use and pretend it’s a restaurant. Let’s look at some examples.

Shine Bright car wash sounds like a good name for a car wash, but would you name a restaurant Well Cooked Food?

Total Restoration Service sounds like a great name for a fire and water restoration company, but would you name a restaurant Fully Prepared Meal?

OK, those won’t work. Now comes the tricky part. You have to find a name for your business that would also work as a restaurant name. First, write down all the names you would potentially name your business. Then, try them out as a restaurant.

For example you want to name a financial services company. One of the potential names on your list is Prime Equity Investments. Let’s say your list also included Crystal Cactus as a possibility. Hey, you were tired of coming up with names and you were staring at the Mexico souvenir on your desk.

Let’s test the two names with the restaurant technique.

Prime Equity Investments would be Best Quality Food as a restaurant name. FAILURE
Crystal Cactus would be a great name for several different types of restaurants. SUCCESS

Crystal Cactus as a financial services company? Why not? Do you want a name that gets you relegated to the middle of the pack? Then give your business a name with personality. Don’t underestimate your business name as the starting point for your brand.

So, do you have a great business name that also works as a restaurant name?

Do as you preach note: Yes, The Marketing Spot is a name I would do differently if I were starting over again. I explain that in a previous post. But right now that’s not going to happen.


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