SINGAPORE - In an increasingly competitive dining scene where restaurants fight to stand out among others, what a restaurant is called can make all the difference.
But of late, there have been more eateries with similar names that have, at times, caused confusion among diners. Diners sometimes book tables at the wrong restaurants or turn up at the wrong venues because the names are similar.
Words that have proved popular among restaurants over the last year include "commune" and "lime". Over the years, there has been "jade", as well as other common words that include variations of restaurant names with "big" and "fat" in them.
Housewife Alice Lee, who is in her 60s, says: "I get confused over Crystal Jade Palace, Jade Palace and Jade, and have to double check with my friends where they have booked so that my husband and I do not go to the wrong restaurant."
Restaurateurs say similar names are coincidental, and that they choose names mostly because it tied in with the concept.
Commune, for one, has been particularly popular. Three eateries - Commune Cafe at Millenia Walk, Commune Bistro at Phoenix Park and Communal in North Canal Road - have opened in the last year. But restaurateurs and spokesmen claim "no blunders" in terms of mixed-up bookings have happened so far.
Mr Raymond Lo, 23, a sales and marketing executive for Commune Cafe, says: "When customers ask us about our other Commune outlets, we tell them that this is the only branch and we are an independent company." The cafe, which opened last July and serves coffee, tea, cakes and sandwiches, is an extension of two-year-old furniture shop Commune, located next door.
A Commune Bistro spokesman says: "It is disconcerting, but we are sure nobody intended for it to happen. We just take it that the name is commercial, in a good way."