If you decide to start a café or bistro, this article will help you build your brand. We live in a time when we stop to drink a coffee just because of the caffeine. If only quality could decide, Starbucks would go broke :) But we have moved from functional drinking to experiences. In order to be successful, offering just good coffee is not enough. Thoughtful branding, a catchy name, a “wow” visual identity could help. Roasters, staff, space, etc. can be changed, and yet you will have only one name.


Before choosing the name, think about your café’s character

It would be best if the style is based on either your character or the character of your target group. Your character, your style, your café. Or. The nature of your customers, the style they love, your coffee shop.

For example:

  • Familiar
  • Corporate
  • Exclusive
  • Local
  • Urban
  • Retro
  • Farmer
  • Anarchist
  • Artsy
  • Exotic

What do you like? What style should your café have?


Tell your naming agency not only your preferred character, but also the style. Again, it can be your style or the style of the target group.

For example:

  • Enjoyable colour - if you have a colour idea in your head, type it in the naming brief
  • Leather, wood, metal, glass, stone, marble, sack ... - do you prefer any material? Also add it to the naming assignment
  • Do you want no chairs, but pallets instead? - How is the interior going to look? What can become a symbol of the brand?
  • Do you want to have a theme café?
  • ArtDeco?
  • Rustic style?
  • Do you love maps and travelling?
  • Do you want to create a market illusion?
  • Do you love LEDs?
  • Are you totally eco-friendly?
  • Equestrian?
  • What is your favourite artist?
  • Are you a DIY enthusiast?
  • Do you prefer a masculine, rugged style?
  • Brady, Mutations, Tracks, Bikes - Do you want to make hipster waves? We are no longer in 2012!
  • Books, newspapers, iPads? What do you want your customers to read? What can work like a decoration?
  • Great Gatsby - Do you feel ladies and gentlemen are missing from the world?
  • Flat Design - Do you love modern technology and want to be in also offline?

Search for a concept, not just a "word"

An excellent example of the brand name concept is SMART VIKINGS. It contains a visual symbol that works perfectly, and not only in the logo, but also within the company. From Viking Business Principles, through Viking positions, to Viking helmets as gifts for teams. And the word "smart"? Smart Vikings originated from Smartpage.

With a coffee shop, also consider whether you can use the words derived from your name in marketing, gift items, original invitations, indoor spaces, etc. For example, VELO may not only be the name of a coffee house but also the way coffee gets to you.

Case: Blue Bottle

At first glance, "Blue Bottle" looks like a name that does not suit the coffee world at all. Yet the opposite is true. Behind the name is a really strong story that starts in Vienna, where Central Europe’s very first coffeehouse opened with the same name. It was opened by Georg Franz Kolschitzky, who had come to the conclusion that the bags remaining in Vienna after the Turks had fled did not contain food for camels but coffee instead. Because he had a license to serve coffee, and he was able to open what turned out to be the genesis of the long history of Viennese coffee culture. Note how Blue Bottle uses both a bottle and the colour symbol in its logo. First, there was the name together with the logo, but today the logo is enough to recognise the brand: beautiful, minimalist and with a reference to the strong eco-movement in California.

Be visual and you will be more memorable

If the title sounds good and you also know how to visualise it, you will soon remember it. If the logo contains colours, shapes, objects, symbols..., well this principle was used by clients such as NeonMars. A great example is Traveller coffee and coffeehouse. Their identity uses natural colours and a hiking shoe.

A name is a part of customer service, too

Do not make the mistake of naming your café with a commonly used generic word. You will not be able to measure sentiment, such as what they are saying about you on social networks. This is very important for coffee shops. To be always responsive to customer feedback, you need to know where to quickly find mentions of you on the web. Always choose a neoplasm or a new combination of words. That is why we recommend MistyLab instead of Misty or HolyTuna instead of Tuna.

Put the word "coffee" in the description, not in the title

Maybe you were in a café whose name is “something + coffee" and you could not remember it the next day. The basic principle behind a name is to differentiate your business from your competitors and for emotional branding. So put the word "coffee" in the description and keep the name unique.

Unless you are rich, ditch the acronym

If you decide to call your café by an acronym, take into account that it will be 30% less memorable. Anything what is hard to remember, badly pronounced, is hard to write increases marketing demands and expenses. Examples: Instead of ST CAFÉ, choose Steam Dot, instead of BP POINT use Barista Parlor, more effective than TCB's would be Thinking Cup Boston.

Have a world name to save your nerves in the future

Have you started up a café and are not counting on growth? Big mistake! Maybe your coffeehouse has more than local potential. Verify the meaning and association of your name with cultural context linguists and specialists at a naming agency. They will help you avoid cases where the names have a specific meaning only native speakers identify. Or they will alert you to language specifics. For example, some languages have no letters we normally use. For this reason, Pepsi is commonly called Bepsi in the Arab world.  Today you may be modest, but you will have trouble tomorrow unless you register both .com domains and domains for other markets where you will be potentially operating.

Never underestimate the trademark

Registering a trademark lets you avoid unnecessary renaming and rebranding because there is already an enterprise with the same registered name. The problem may also come up if you accidentally choose a name or logo that resembles another brand.  Analyse your competition before you select the name or hire a naming agency to do it for you. Check your business register, company directories, coffee house portals and more. Having your domain registered means nothing. Only a trademark will guarantee you to be the only one authorised to use it.  So be sure to check trademark registers for all the countries where you are planning to operate before entering your name in the Business Register or before you open your café.

Case: Everyman Espresso

Not the happiest hit was the name chosen by a New York coffee establishment - Everyman Espresso. The logo for their coffeehouse was inspired by the tattoo of one of the co-owners

The logo was used until an official letter came at the beginning of last year from representatives at the New York State Department for Economic Development. They claimed the logo to be unauthorised because it was too strikingly similar to the logo registered as the "I ♥ NY® trademark". The team had to stop using the original logo to market the coffeehouse. They were also forced to invest in rebranding and a new website, as well as a new logo for the coffeehouse.

So before you start using a name and logo that might happen to be already a registered trademark, make sure you have registered it as soon as possible or let the experts handle it. Are you choosing from a range of names? Congratulations! Remember that nothing you invest in will be used as often as a name. Print these two rules at home so your name does not become average and generic from averaging the opinions of others.