Restaurateurs are increasingly naming their restaurants with cooler and more abstract names that are different from what Chinese restaurants used to be called.
In the past, there was a distinct naming style that the majority of Chinese restaurants adopted. They used similar words, themes, strategies, and ended up sounding alike. These days, the names have become a lot subtler and thought provoking. In short, they’ve become classier and have kept up with the times.
Perhaps this is in line with the growth of fusion Asian restaurants and more upscale establishments that need and want a more sophisticated name. Or, the new generation of Chinese restaurant owners may just be a lot funkier and progressive compared to their Chinese forefathers.
Traditional Chinese Restaurant Names
Here’s a list of some of the more traditionally named Chinese restaurants that you may still find in Chinatowns throughout the world, in China and in Asian countries.
- Jade Palace
- Dragon Inn
- Red Lotus
- Lucky Garden
- Green House
Many of the popular words are normally used in varying combinations with different adjectives to produce a range of extremely similar names.
Let’s take the word ‘dragon’ for example, an animal that’s regarded to be lucky, and likely to bring any business prosperity if it is named after it.
Here are some classic Chinese restaurant names that use the word ‘dragon’:
- Green Dragon
- Lucky Dragon
- Dragon Palace
- Red Dragon
- Dragon Inn
- Dragon House
Names of Modern Chinese Restaurants in the West
In comparison, there’s a very different naming style used by new Chinese restaurants, especially those opened in the U.S., UK and Western countries.
This isn’t surprising, as a restaurant’s name ultimately needs to appeal to its prospective customers, and to do so, it needs to be relevant.
For example, in America, a Chinese restaurant could be suitably called ‘Eastern Delights’ or anything using the ‘eastern’ word and concept. However, in China or some other Eastern country, it may not be as effective as the restaurant will already be in the East, together with lots of other Eastern restaurants.
To give you an idea of the types of names that are effective in the West, here are some of the leading Chinese restaurants in the United States:
- Lost Heaven
- Chef Chu’s
- Tropical Chinese
- Gourmet Dumpling
- Taiwan Cafe
- Joe’s Shanghai
- Han Dynasty
- Facing East
Old vs New Chinese Restaurant Naming Styles
So, what’s better? If you’re from the younger generation or live in the West, you probably prefer a cleverer name that’s cool. You probably feel that the more traditional names are a bit corny and outdated.
On the other hand, if you’re opening a basic Chinese restaurant that’s affordable, no frills and an everyday eatery, you may not want a fancy name that’s more suited to a fine dining place, and projects an image of being exclusive and expensive.
There are qualities and advantages of both naming styles, and it depends on what you’re trying to achieve and who you’re targeting with your restaurant.
As a middle ground, you could use one of the words used in more traditional Chinese restaurant names and combine it with another word in a creative way to form a great name that’s not too dated or pretentious.