How to name your restaurant or café and make the perfect sign

Everything’s settled. The bank is on board, suppliers have been contracted, staff is recruited and the venue is being furnished as we speak. But what should the name of your dream be? Here are a few things you might want to consider before ordering the sign that will carry your business identity during the years to come.

funny restaurant name

Don’t get lost in translation

If you name your establishment after a foreign word, you might wanna double-check that you haven’t misunderstood anything first. It could turn out to be incorrect, or worse: offensive.

(Where: Tokyo, Japan Photo: Thomas Burford)

funny signs

Spell-check goddamnit!

It’s kind of appalling to see expensive signs being crafted without anyone reacting to poor spelling or typos. Or maybe it’s a clever strategy to become featured on Instagram accounts, funny signs pages and in travel books?

(Where: Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Photo: Paul Schramm)

funny signs

Separate your different businesses

If you’re even mildly cost-efficient, it might seem tempting to promote all your related businesses in the same billboard. But it could also be quite confusing for your customers.

funny signs

Don’t over-inform

As with the rule above, you shouldn’t try to cram too much information into the same limited space. You can probably afford to make another sign for the toilet.   

(Where: Wat Poh, Bangkok, Thailand Photo: Karyn Demartelaere)

funny signs

Don’t be confusing

Customers wanting to get a quick bite and a drink are generally quite sensitive to confusion and mixed messages. Make sure your sign is clear and unambiguous.

funny signs

Stand out!

Some businesses thrive off the resemblance with others, but if you want to be unique you should go for something that doesn’t immediately get you mixed up with your neighbours or competitors.

funny signs

Be funny, don’t be creepy

Sometimes, a funny and edgy name sounds awesome to you. Most times, that is not the case for people that aren’t you. Do a quick market survey among your friends to see if the name flies.  

(Where: Bicester, England Photo: Angela Antill)


These signs have been selected by Doug Lansky, travel writer, keynote speaker and editor of the popular book series Signspotting. Check out the Signspotting website for thousands of more brilliant examples like these.  

Published by

Doug Lansky

Editor of Signspotting

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