How to Choose a Creative Name for Your Coffee Shop

When you decide to open an independent coffee shop, it’s not only about building a business – it’s also about building a brand. You need to consider every aspect of your brand, and the name is one of the most important. It should be simple, yet catchy, and reflect the identity of the coffee shop.

So how do you come up with a name that will resonate with your customers? How to come up with creative coffee shop names that will help you succeed?

This article provides a detailed guide to devising a naming strategy. It should help you spend less time brainstorming and make it easier to pick out the name that best showcases what your coffee shop is all about.

Brainstorming Creative Coffee Shop Names: Tips and Tricks

Chances are you already have a name or two in mind, but you are still not 100% sure on either of them. Here are some guidelines that should help you pick the right name with pride and certainty.

think coffee - one of the coffee shop names displayed in the streets of New York

Who Are Your Customers?

It all begins and ends with your future customers/target audience. Think carefully about who they are; consider their age, gender, education, and coffee preferences. Then try to put yourself in their shoes and figure out if these people are going to be drawn to your café just by the name.

Nielsen research indicates that brands without a strong name need to put in extra effort to persuade customers that their product is valuable (1). On the other hand, a good name, logo, and overall branding allow you to build a positive impression (2) that will become synonymous with the quality of the service you provide.

“Once a brand has been well-established, word of mouth will be the company’s best and most effective advertising technique.“ – Elizabeth Smithson, Branding Magazine

Coffee Shop Theme

Themed coffee shops are popular for a reason. A unique approach that spans every aspect of a coffee shop should be reflected in the name as well. For example, you wouldn’t want to call an ultra-modern café “Little Italy” because customers might expect to enter a small and cozy Italian-inspired café/bakery instead.

In general, the name should hint at the experience your customers are getting. Are cappuccinos the main highlight of your offer? If so, try to incorporate that into the name. Don’t be afraid to give the future customers a taste of the interior and café’s style. Use the name to tell them if they are going to enjoy a cup in a boho chic lounge or an industrial coffee shop.

Boutique chains and third wave cafés are sprouting in the U.S. The competition has gone down to the city/neighborhood level, so choose the name wisely.

Take Advantage of Your Location

You probably have your eyes set on a venue that would be perfect for an independent coffee shop. So why not utilize the characteristics of the location to come up with a unique name? Take a look at the history of the place and businesses that used to be there before. In fact, people from the neighborhood might already have a nickname for the place.

Do a little survey about the location to find out if it’s already been dubbed by the locals. This way, you’ll also find out how the people feel about the location and whether they’d like to be able to grab a cup of coffee there. Addresses, numbers, or city block nicknames might work as well. But be careful as you don’t want to be yet another Lower East Side Baristas.

“Composite names like Facebook are created by gluing two words together. They have warm-to punch and can be memorable.” – Jonathan Bell, Want Branding

Your Name

Using your first or last name for a café can give it an inviting and homey feel. Ideally, your customers will soon be uttering “Let’s grab a cup at Brian’s.” Then again, you should be careful if you decide to use your name (first or last) for branding. Needless to say, there are a lot of coffee shops that sport the first/last name of the founder, which makes this strategy a bit of a cliché (3).

However, if the name is uncommon and catchy, it can be quite good for a small town or neighborhood café. Just make sure your competition is not using the same strategy.

The Key Is Simplicity

The idea of keeping things simple cannot be overstated. Remember, the name is supposed to be memorable and easy to read/pronounce, even if a foreigner ventures into your coffee shop. In other words, you should avoid anything that’s too much of a mouthful.

If you are not sure, run a simple survey. Put down the top three picks and ask people for their opinion. See whether they can pronounce th ne picks correctly and examine their response to the names. This way, you can make any necessary changes before it’s too late (4).

“55% of consumers claim they’ll pay more for a brand that delivers a simpler experience.” – Peter Horst, Forbes’ CMO Network (Based on Research from Siegel+Gale)

Final Thoughts

When all is said and done, simplicity and uniqueness are the two guiding principles you should follow. Make a list of creative coffee shop names based on the advice from this article.

Carefully investigate your future competitors and their naming practices to avoid similarities. Then ask your friends, family, and complete strangers (preferably locals) for their opinion. Soon enough, through all that research, one name will surely come out as the winner. In the end, you want to run a successful coffee shop, so don't ignore things like costs to set one up, and the potential for return/profits in your business.

After picking a suitable name for our cafe, then it's probably time to choose the best equipment for your shop, including a commercial espresso machine! Check out and compare some of the best ones in the market right here.

FAQs

What are the names of successful coffee shops?

The names of successful coffee shops include Sheri’s Coffee House, Cpl. Ray’s Coffee, Coffee Amici, to list but a few. As you can see, they utilize names and primary business to give the customers an idea of what to expect.

Do coffee shops sell food?

Yes, coffee shops do sell food, and the menu may vary from simple snacks to full-on breakfast or brunch. However, running a kitchen on top of the café might be too much at the start, so it’s best to include some snack but avoid the expense and hustle of preparing meals.

How did Starbucks come up with its name?

Starbucks founders drew inspiration from Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick. The first mate of Pequod (the whaling ship) was named Starbuck, and the book-loving founders named their coffee shop chain after him.


References

  1. Nielsen. (2015, June 7). Understanding the Power of a Brand Name. Retrieved July 1, 2019, from https://www.nielsen.com/ca/en/insights/article/2015/understanding-the-power-of-a-brand-name/
  2. Smithson, E. (2015, October 14). What Is Branding And Why Is It Important For Your Business? Retrieved from https://www.brandingmag.com/2015/10/14/what-is-branding-and-why-is-it-important-for-your-business/
  3. Davis, P. (2019, February 6). 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Naming Your Business. Retrieved July 1, 2019, from https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/299455
  4. Horst, P. (2018, November 26). The Power Of Simplicity: What You Can Learn from Netflix and the Top 10 Simplest Brands. Retrieved July 1, 2019, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterhorst/2018/11/26/the-power-of-simplicity-what-you-can-learn-from-netflix-and-the-top-10-simplest-brands/
Alex
 

Alex is the Founder and Editor of Homegrounds.co. He is passionate about brewing amazing coffee at home, and teaching others to do the same.

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