How Chick-fil-A and More Chains Got Their Name

We eat at these places all the time. Have you ever wondered how they got their name?


Their name is a take on “chicken fillet.” According to the restaurant, the “A” stands for top quality. With waffles fries like that, I’d give them an A, too.


The founders were looking for a name, found “Starbo” on a random mining map and it reminded one of the founders that there’s a character in Moby-Dick called Starbuck.


Brothers Tom and James Monaghan bought a small pizzeria called DomiNick’s. Tom changed the name to Domino’s Pizza soon after James traded his half of the business for a used VW and eventually sold the business for $1 billion.


In 1998, St. Louis Bread expanded outside Missouri to become Panera. Au Bon Pain (“the place of good bread”) bought Panera (“breadbasket”) in 1998 and made the change.


Brothers Mac and Dick McDonald started their own burger joint in 1940. When Ray Kroc stepped in, he kept the McDonald’s name because who would want to eat a Krocburger?

Cracker Barrel

Crackers and other goods were imported to the restaurant in barrels. When the barrels were empty, they were used as the base for checkerboards.


After trying out all of his kid’s names, Dave Thomas chose his daughter, Melinda’s, nickname, Wendy. Her iconic red hair and freckles can be seen on every restaurant and she’s even starred in a few commercials.

Little Caesars

The owners were testing out the name Pizza Treat and one of their wives thought it was too boring and generic. They all later settled on the nickname she gave her 5’9 husband, Little Caesar.

Taco Bell

Founder, Glen Bell, originally opened Bell’s Burgers. Once he realized that there were too many burger joints, Bell opened his next restaurant, Taco Tia, where he sold only tacos. After a friend suggested Taco Bell, the rest was history.


They started out as Top Hat but soon realized the name was already trademarked. The fast-food chain’s slogan was already “Service at the Speed of Sound” and Sonic was born soon after.

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