Restaurant Chains That Used To Have Different Names

By Ghuman


Restaurant chains have been around for decades, and many of them have gone through name changes over the years. Some of these changes were due to mergers and acquisitions, while others were simply a result of a rebranding effort. In this article, we will take a look at some of the most popular restaurant chains that used to have different names. We will explore the reasons behind the name changes, as well as the impact they had on the restaurants’ success. We will also discuss how the restaurants have evolved over time and how their names have become iconic.

Restaurant Chains That Used To Have Different Names

It’s amazing how much a restaurant chain can change over the years. Many of the most popular restaurant chains today have gone through a number of name changes before settling on the one we know and love. Here are some of the most popular restaurant chains that used to have different names.


McDonald’s was originally called “McDonald’s Famous Hamburgers” when it was founded in 1940. The name was changed to McDonald’s in 1948, and the rest is history.

Burger King

Burger King was originally called Insta-Burger King when it was founded in 1953. The name was changed to Burger King in 1954.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell was originally called Taco Tia when it was founded in 1962. The name was changed to Taco Bell in 1964.


KFC was originally called Kentucky Fried Chicken when it was founded in 1952. The name was changed to KFC in 1991.

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut was originally called Pizza Inn when it was founded in 1958. The name was changed to Pizza Hut in 1967.


Subway was originally called Pete’s Super Submarines when it was founded in 1965. The name was changed to Subway in 1968.


Wendy’s was originally called Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers when it was founded in 1969. The name was changed to Wendy’s in 1970.

Merely listening to a restaurant’s title can conjure reminiscences of meals previous, cravings for favourite menu gadgets, and will even result in a go to within the close to future. Typically, the extra title recognition a restaurant has, the extra income it stands to generate. This, in small half, is why firms have a tendency to protect their names, logos, and branding towards opponents.

The model worth of McDonald’s is price $42.8 million, based on model consulting company Interbrand. To be clear, that is the worth of simply the model, not the corporate, which noticed international revenues exceed $21 billion in 2019. McDonald’s has constructed that worth over the course of greater than 80 years, working beneath the same title since its founding in 1940. Nonetheless, what many might not know is that, for the primary eight years of enterprise, the restaurant was known as McDonald’s Bar-B-Q. The title was then truncated to its famend fashionable title by 1948. (Associated: McDonald’s Is Making These 8 Main Upgrades.)

In related style, Subway, now the quick meals restaurant with essentially the most areas in America, began off as Pete’s Subway. Different examples of chains present process delicate title adjustments embody Chipotle—which used to have the phrases “Mexican Grill” in its title earlier than dropping them in 2001—and Burger King, initially often known as Insta-Burger King after the Insta-Broiler grill machine.

Nonetheless, many different eating places that now have practically as a lot (if not equal) title recognition as McDonald’s, Subway, Chipotle, or Burger King began off with dramatically totally different names. In some instances, you may see a logical development, whereas in others the distinction in titles is considerably jarring.

Listed below are six well-known restaurant chains which have undergone title adjustments since their respective debuts.

Chick fil a

When the restaurant that might develop into beloved hen sandwich franchise, Chick-fil-A, opened as a single diner in 1946 and was often known as the Dwarf Grill. Founder S. Truett Cathy later renamed his institution, the Dwarf Home. It was the recognition of the Dwarf Home’s flagship menu merchandise, the Chick-fil-A sandwich, that might later immediate the now company chain’s title change in 1967. (Associated: The Finest and Worst Quick-Meals Rooster Sandwiches, In keeping with a Dietitian.)

dunkin donuts storefront with DD sign
Lynn Watson/Shutterstock

For a lot of Massachusetts natives, it is tough to think about the state with out Dunkin’, aka the large breakfast chain that sells something from espresso and donuts to wraps and sandwiches. Do you ever catch your self nonetheless calling the institution Dunkin’ Donuts? The chain dropped the phrase “Donuts” from the official title again in January 2019. However for the primary two years of its operation beginning in 1948, the Quincy-founded restaurant was known as Open Kettle, a reputation that will recall to mind scorching espresso, however misses the true vendor: the candy stuff.

Domino's pizza sign

Within the 12 months 1960, brothers Tom and James Monaghan bought a Ypsilanti, Michigan pizza store known as DomiNick’s for rather less than a thousand {dollars}. Inside 23 years, the chain would open its 1,000th location, enter the worldwide market, and increase at an aggressive charge. Amid all of this success, and particularly 5 years after its opening, the chain’s title modified from DomiNick’s to Domino’s Pizza Inc.

panera bread

Ken Rosenthal based the St. Louis Bread Firm in, in fact, St. Louis, following a visit to San Francisco the place he developed a passion for sourdough bread. Nonetheless, after bakery chain Au Bon Ache acquired Rosenthal’s enterprise, the workforce did not suppose the location-specific title had broad enchantment, in order that they re-branded the increasing chain as Panera. Why? It means “bread time” in Italian.

sonic drive in sign
James R. Martin/Shutterstock

Just like how Chick-fil-A modified its title primarily based on the recognition of a sandwich, Sonic obtained its present title primarily based on the recognition of a service. The restaurant initially opened as High Hat in 1953 and inside a number of years a number of franchises had opened, all of which had the identical quintessential drive-up buyer mannequin, full with staff delivering meals on curler skates. The corporate adopted the slogan “Service with the Velocity of Sound” which impressed the title Sonic—a change largely prompted by house owners avoiding battle with one other meals firm that additionally had the title High Hat.

Seattle's Best Coffee outside the location

The title Seattle’s Finest Espresso says quite a bit—it lends provenance, speaks to high quality, and highlights the flagship product in a succinct method. The title The Moist Whisker, alternatively, sounds just like the title of a dive bar in a contemporary dime novel, however that was the preliminary title of the espresso store that has since grown right into a extremely revered model. The Moist Whisker was based in 1969 as an ice cream and occasional store, and although there aren’t as many areas as a few of its opponents, the model Seattle’s Finest Espresso is now owned by Starbucks.

For extra, remember to learn 5 Finest Quick Meals Chains To Order On-line From Proper Now.