What’s in a Name? On Shakespeare, Trademarks and (Re-)Naming an App

Am I really going to start a blog post by butchering a quote from Romeo and Juliet? Am I going to insist that an app by any other name would smell as sweet? Yes, I am, because 1) My team and I renamed our app and 2) who doesn’t like roses? Well, at least the ones grown locally in naturally in organic soil in summer – no heated greenhouses, toxic sprays or half-a-world-long carbon footprint involved. Everybody likes those roses, right?

Eco-morality aside, this update actually has nothing to do with roses and everything to do with names. You might have noticed that this Tinder-for-restaurants app we’ve been running for the last year-and-a-half has had a different name for the past few months. Here’s the story: We sold the word mark (aka the trademark on the name) for our previous name (no need to wake the dead by naming it) and reinvented ourselves, phoenix-style (should I go back to Shakespeare or do you prefer Greek mythology?). Not that we were dead – in fact we were just flying along nicely, but the opportunity came and we took it.

With an update to the app flow in the works anyway, a re-brand didn’t sound so bad. And the best part is that we didn’t have to change anything in the actual app except the logo and privacy policy copy. No users were inconvenienced, say, by losing their favourites list. 

App Updates with Catharsis

I mentioned those app flow updates, right? I’ll be a bit more specific: Think about the Fork That app (or any app) like a choose-your-own-adventure novel – or for boardroom types or anyone born in the post-CYOA book era) a flow chart. Imagine if you were going from point to point thinking, “hey, this is fun!” and you were nearing the end of the paper (or Buddha board) and then suddenly the adventure just ended. Just like that. No warning. No options. No catharsis.

You’d be disappointed, right? That’s how I imagined some of our app users feeling with the old version of the app: “This is cool, I’m swiping through restaurants, I like a bunch of them...but now what?”

Answering the “Now what?”

We feel you. That’s why we want to pivot from a restaurant discovery app to one where you whittle your choices down to just the right restaurant for RIGHT NOW – so you either go directly there, order in, or book a reservation. Not everyone is as obsessed with just reading about cool restaurants nearby as I am and sticking them on a list for later. That’s a list app, not an eating app.

We also want to make eating more social. Or not. Your choice. You don’t need to eat with friends or make new ones, but we want to make it easier to do that if you want. That idea’s a little less flushed out for now, but most people like other people sometimes, so when you feel like being social, we want to facilitate that with food.

That means more development, more updates, more patience. And that’s why selling our trademark was a good idea. Name change explained.

Thanks for bearing with us. It’ll be a bit of a journey, but we won’t forget to stop (to eat) and smell the roses.

P.S. We won’t be eating the roses; just smelling them