While you’re listing down potential names for your new restaurant, deli or café, you’re bound to have a number of options that you like, but feel that there’s just something not quite right with them.
Sometimes, one of the best ways to figure out how to choose a good name is to understand what not to do, and the things to avoid.
In the quest to be funny, a lot of people sacrifice meaning and sheer common sense in the punning names they try to create. One of the biggest mistakes is to use words that are inappropriate and project the wrong image about the business.
There’s a lot to be learned from the following 10 names, which good examples of creatively created names, but they just don’t quite work for one reason of another. Some of them have negative words, others try to be a bit too clever, and the others just have a quirkiness that doesn’t translate well into a restaurant’s name.
As you take note of the weaknesses in the names, do also look out for their positive aspects, as there are good points you can adapt to come up with your ideal name.
- Dear Meat – There’s multiple ways to interpret this name. This most obvious is ‘deer’ meat, which is probably what the restaurant is known for. But the ‘dear’ could also be a play on the ‘dearest meat’ or ‘my dear meat’ type of dear, in which case it won’t be limited to deer meat. However, ‘dear’ could also mean ‘expensive’, so this ends up being a bit confusing and possibly negative.
- Highway Ribbery – Although this may be misinterpreted in the wrong way that the restaurant is a bit of a rip off, most people will probably appreciate the adaptation of the phrase ‘highway robbery’ into a great name for a rib shack.
- Melting Spot – A twist on the term ‘melting pot’ that could be positively regarded as a place where all sorts of food and people congregate, or it could be perceived as a hot and sweaty restaurant by people who read it the wrong way.
- Nylon Prawn – This is definitely super quirky. Nylon is the last thing you’d associate with prawns, and even if its not the two most fitting things in the world, the name will get people’s attention and make them want to find out more.
- Aftertizer – Clearly, this is some sort of play on the word ‘appetizer’, but it is a good example of a naming creation that doesn’t quite work. Don’t get too creative and fit a square peg into a hole. It needs to flow phonetically and meaningfully.
- Prawnosis – While the word play is quite clever by combining ‘prawn’ with ‘prognosis’, the end result may be tricky to pronounce and recall for a lot of people, and there’s no natural meaning that jumps to mind.
- Road Krill – This looks like a mash up between ‘road kill’ and ‘road house grill’. It’s creative, but it doesn’t work. ‘Road kill’ is not a really good image for a restaurant to be associated with, and the end product doesn’t roll off the tongue smoothly.
- Bar Flight – This is obviously modified from the term ‘bar fight’, and while it doesn’t project the best image for a bar, it’s definitely memorable. Hopefully, it’s the drinks that get you flying out of there and not a punch.
- Spanish Harem – Obviously a take on ‘spanish harlem’ where the ‘l’ has been removed. But ‘harem’ may not be an good word to associate with a restaurant though.
- Hindenburger – The Hindenburg disaster doesn’t conjure a great image, but if you’re serving flame-grilled burgers, it may be possible to make a vague connection. From a word design point of view, it is a nice fit.
You’ve probably already spotted that it’s negative concepts and associations that should be avoided. Even if the play on words is very cleverly witty, or extremely funny, if the underlying words have a dark or unpleasant meaning, the name is just not going to end up being very good.