Choosing a Name, Location, & Theme: How to Start a Restaurant Series Part 1

The thought of opening your own restaurant can be an overwhelming one – “How do I get enough money?” “What equipment do I need?” “How do I get customers in to my restaurant?” The list goes on and on. . .

Like you, Jenny Foster, owner of a trendy, California-style restaurant, Senorita Burrita, had the dream of opening her own restaurant and struggled with some of these same questions. We recently had the opportunity to interview Jenny and learn all about her experience with opening her restaurant. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share with you Jenny’s tips, tricks, do’s, dont’s, and must have’s to bring your dreams of restaurant ownership to life. Check back often!

Choosing a Name, Location, and Theme

Before Jenny took any steps toward opening her restaurant, she decided on a name, location, and theme. And while there are many different ways to come up with these key parts of your business (inspiration from your friends or family, reflections of your personality, particular foods or cuisines, or even from another idea you have for the business), Jenny’s business started with the logo. In her case, the logo was drawn before Jenny even decided on the name! In time though, Senorita Burrita was decided upon as the name for Jenny’s restaurant, the name a product of an inside joke. As soon as Jenny made a final decision on both the logo and the name, she started advertising them together so people would associate the logo with her restaurant’s signature Senorita Burrita name.

As for the location of Senorita Burrita? It’s located on Prince Street’s Gallery Row, an area filled with art galleries, in downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The location was perfect for the type of business Jenny was planning to open – big windows, an active street, and across from the popular concert venue. Keeping up with the artsy environment, she created a vibrant and creative atmosphere within her restaurant.

As I mentioned earlier, inspiration can come from many sources, each unique to the restaurateur - Jenny used her favorite childhood song about a cat called “Senor Don Gato” as inspiration for her theme. She decided to use vibrant colors for the dining area of her restaurant to reflect the Spanish motif of the song, and painted the lyrics with illustrations along the walls of the bathrooms. Basing the theme of her restaurant on this fun Spanish children’s song helped her create the entertaining and creative atmosphere for which she was striving for.

So what about you? Where will your inspiration come from? What will your restaurant’s name, theme, and location come from? Take some time to seriously think about these aspects of your business – But not TOO seriously. Have fun with these decisions much like Jenny did and remember these key tips from Senorita Burrita’s conception:

  • Make sure the name’s easy to spell and easy to remember
  • Be original (you want to stand out from other restaurants – don’t you?)
  • Think visual – something people will easily remember
  • Entertain yourself with your name and logo – You’re going to be spending A LOT of time with them
  • Always advertise your name with your logo – ALWAYS
  • Branding is key!

Be sure to check out all 4 installations of the How to Start a Restaurant series!

WEBstaurant TVDemonstrations, how-to's & descriptions ARTICLESDemonstrations, how-to's & descriptions BUYING GUIDESDemonstrations, how-to's & descriptions