Tag lines

Tag lines

Everyone feels the need to clarify their restaurant/menu concept with a tag line: “food from the heart,” “new Southern cuisine,” “southern Thai food,” “urban barbecue” or — how about one of the longest-running ones — “California Cuisine.” These sub-names really are meant to clarify what you can expect on the menu, and even though they may be a bit esoteric (What is California Cuisine, anyhow?) they do give diners an idea of what they are about to get themselves into.

Restaurant names often include a description, too, but sometimes they lose their concept in alliteration or seem as though you are talking down to your clientele: “dining, dancing and drinking,” “drinks and dining,” “brasserie and bar,” ” wine, dine, lounge.” These are cute and all, but they largely simply restate what you would expect. It’s kind of like the refrain in music — you repeat with emphasis. 

Names are incredible signals as to what you are all about and can give an atmospheric sensation in just a few words. That is why naming a restaurant concept is one of the hardest things to do, and you have to admire those who do it well. How do you convey the mood, the experience, the feelings and, oh yes — the food — into a word or two (or three little sub-names?)? I won’t go into how I feel about using numbers or addresses as names …