How do you think of a perfect café name? And when? Is the name the seed that really gets your passion going for the project? Or is the name the very last thing you decide on?
Regardless of your approach, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding on the name of your baby café.
Keep it simple
There are a few benefits to keeping your chosen name short and sweet.
One, a short name is easier to remember.
Two, it will be cheaper for signage and other branding – think coffee cups, napkins, uniforms, flyers, advertising. Some companies still charge by the letter, so Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Coffee might be memorable but expensive.
Three, it won’t need explaining. Every second you spend apologizing for or explaining your business name is a second you spend devaluing your brand.
Consider the Internet
If you search for your café on Google, will the results be for your place or for the saying you’ve used, the movie you’re referencing, or a billion other generic coffee-related terms? Ideally, you want people to get your café at the top of any search results.
Make sure you can claim a website domain with your chosen name! Check out the tools at Bust A Name to see what’s available and what options the bot can think of from your keywords.
If your café name is really long, can be spelled different ways or involves punctuation or symbols, maybe reconsider. For example, hashtags don’t like apostrophes, and Instagrammers don’t like tagging names that take up too much space.
Make it unique
Do a quick Google search of all your potential names – are there already 1000 cafés called “Bean There, Drank That”? Are there three joints called “Espresso Yourself” in your town?
Depending on where you live, there may also be legal ramifications for some of your name choices – check for specifics but, first of all, don’t copy your neighbor!
But don’t go overboard
Spelling your café name incorrectly might be a talking point, but it doesn’t give off the best vibe. Customers will wonder: “If they missed the typo on their shopfront, what sort of mistakes are they missing in the kitchen?”
So avoid wacky spellings (these will be hard to remember and hard to Google). Combinations of letters and numbers can also be confusing for customers. If they’ve literally ‘heard’ of your café, guests won’t necessarily know what to look for on your sign or online.
Fit in with your surroundings
If you’re taking over the café lease in the foyer of a swanky hotel, avoid any names that will get you in trouble with management – or get management in trouble with their clients. Be uninspired by these disaster names.
Double check the pronunciation
Go outside your circle of friends for this one – they’ll want to be supportive, and you need people unfamiliar with the project to give you good, unbiased opinions.
If you’re using numbers in your café name – 404 Pot Found, 1 Coffee Place – expect that people will read the names differently (four-oh-four vs four-hundred-and-four, or number-one vs one).
If you’re using something unusual, or a word with a number of pronunciations, make sure you’re happy with any of the options. If you call your café Caramel Cup, be prepared to answer phone calls about both ‘Ca-ra-mel’ and ‘Car-mel’ Cups.
Are you using a local term for something you hope to turn into a national or international chain? Your seafood restaurant “World’s Best Crawdad” will take off in Kansas, but might confuse guests used to calling the same critters lobsters, mudbugs or crayfish.
Predict the nickname
If you call your coffeehouse Dick’s Drinks, expect to be known as “Dick’s” until the end of time. Think about how people will shorten your name and, if you don’t like what you think up, consider changing it.
Think about design
Will your café name look good in six-foot tall letters? I’d never use my own name, because so many fonts can’t differentiate between a capital ‘i' and a lowercase ‘l’—and I’d prefer to spend café time making coffee than clarifying what the name is meant to be.
Heaps of letters can cause optical illusions when put next to each other. Make sure your name won’t be a typographic nightmare!