These household names weren’t always so recognizable.
You’re not alone if you’ve never understood the connection between games and takeout. Long before Domino’s rebranded to expand beyond pizza, it was called DomiNick’s Pizza after its owner, Dominick DiVarti. He sold the restaurant to some friends, but when they started expanding, DiVarti didn’t want his name on the new shops. So a pizza deliverer came up with an alternative: Domino’s. Learn how more of your favorite pizza brands got their names.
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
Apparently, customers are in no rush to go to a restaurant called Chicken on the Run. When the fried chicken restaurant struggled after its grand opening in 1972, the founder reopened it as Popeyes. The name wasn’t in reference to a spinach-loving sailor but to detective Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle from The French Connection.
Au Bon Pain was going strong in the early 1990s, but founder Ron Shaich wanted more. When the owners of Saint Louis Bread Company showed him their own bread-focused chain, Shaich was impressed and bought the 19 locations in hopes of hitting a suburban market. Realizing St. Louis Bread Co. doesn’t have a universal appeal, he made up a word that conjures images of breadbaskets: Panera. He later sold Au Bon Pain to focus on his new baby. Check out these other 10 secrets you never knew about Panera.
Seattle’s Best Coffee
In the 1970s, Seattle dwellers looking for a caffeine fix might have headed to The Wet Whisker for coffee and ice cream. As you might imagine, the founder realized a new name would help him “compete in the market,” so he turned it into Stewart Brothers Coffee in the early 1980s. But that wasn’t the end of the story—Stewarts Private Blend Coffee all the way in Chicago caught wind of their shop and called the shop out for copyright issues. Stewart Brothers Coffee could keep its SBC logo, and fate would decide what the initials would end up standing for. SBC won a local competition for the best coffee in the city, and Seattle’s Best Coffee was (re)born. Find out where Starbucks got its name.