The Importance Of The Right Name In F&B

LOS ANGELES , June 12, 2018 () – What’s in a name?

It’s a question that’s popped up recently in the food and beverage world when the restaurant chain long known as “IHOP” (an acronym for the chain’s original name “International House of Pancakes”)’ announced it had changed its name to “IHOB,”, which stands for the International House of Burgers. As it turns out, the name change will only be temporary as the chain highlights its new Steakhouse Burgers, but social media was nonetheless abuzz with the mere idea that an iconic name would be changed.

Now all things being equal, the name of a restaurant, particularly a long-established one, should mean little. A name doesn’t change the menu, it doesn’t change the quality of food, and it doesn’t change the level of service. But things are not all equal. The right name is vital for a restaurant, or any food or beverage item for that matter, so when you change a well-known name, it automatically becomes a big gamble.

There’s a scene in “The Founder,”, a major motion picture about the rise of McDonald’s, in which Ray Kroc (played by Michael Keaton), who has just purchased the full rights to McDonald’s. He, is asked by company co-founder Dick McDonald why he tried to take over McDonald’s instead of just creating his own company and mimicking McDonald’s business model. Kroc’s response:

It’s not just the system, Dick. It’s the name. That glorious name, McDonald’s. It can be anything you want it to be. It’s limitless. It’s wide open. It sounds like…America. As opposed to “Kroc.” It’s a crock. What a load of crock. Would you eat at a place named Kroc’s?

The point being made in the scene was that the ins and outs of a restaurant is only a part of whether it succeeds or fails, maybe even a small part. The name is vital. It has to grab people, speak to people. And if a restaurant comes up with such a name that accomplishes that, then the idea of changing it has to be treaded on very lightly.

Nevin Barich is the Food and Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence, which can help YOU better address your own industry challenges. We invite you to come take a look at our service. Call us today at 310-553-0008 and we’ll schedule you for a 15-minute demo.

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