How to Name a Barbecue Joint

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So you've bitten the bullet and are about to open a restaurant. You have rented the space, the equipment is ready, the staff is hired, but the one thing you still don't have is a name. While the food certainly has to be good, the name is what is going to bring a customer through the restaurant doors for the very first time. Here's how to name a barbecue joint.

  • Determine who your clientele will be for the barbecue restaurant. The great thing about a barbecue restaurant is that eating ribs, chicken, brisket and more is messy business. Therefore, your clientele is pre-defined, which gives you an advantage over other types of restaurants. There are not many upscale, fine-dining barbecue joints. If you think your clientele is something other than everyday "Joe America" who is looking for good food at a reasonable price during a sit-down meal, then you need to re-think your entire barbecue restaurant.

  • Think about the roots of the barbecue joint's history. Barbecue joints love to celebrate the fact that their recipes are part of a time-honored tradition. You are essentially selling the experience of grandma's (or whoever's) recipe. The fast food version of this is Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was always the Colonel's secret recipe. See if there is a connection, which you can exploit for your name.

  • Come up with something catchy. Here in lies the difficult part. Catchy doesn't necessarily mean short, it doesn't necessarily mean long, it just means catchy. It must roll off the tongue and you can abbreviate it. This way it sticks in people's mind and they can tell people where they are going. As in, "we'll meet you down at Bubba's."

  • Write down word associations to your restaurant along with the catchy phrases. Mix and match the words. Since it is a barbecue restaurant, mentioning it in your title is a good idea. Also, most place abbreviate barbecue to B.B.Q. It tends to familiarize the brand with the public since that is how they see it most often.

  • Test your barbecue restaurant's name with friends and family. This is not a problem you have to solve all by yourself. Ask people how certain names sound. Rely on their opinion. After all, they are going to be the ones who patronize it.

  • Be confident in your decision. Once you have made your decision, don't waffle on whether it was the right choice. You must move to the advertising phase to build the awareness of your restaurant. If you begin to hedge on the name, you'll be putting your focus on the wrong end of the business.

Tips & Warnings

  • Have a contest in the first weeks that you open to name the place. Let customers vote on the various names. They will not only feel a sense of ownership, but you'll get them in the door to taste your wonderful food.
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