As consumers, we have a million options out there when we’re feeling hungry, need caffeine, or just want a sweet treat. You can go to any corner of your town and find a restaurant, or coffee or ice cream shop, to visit. Most of these places have regular names for their drink and food sizes – small, medium, or large. It’s all so nice and familiar.

But what about those restaurants who dare to be different with their size names? Love them or hate them, there are places out there that use another way to say small, medium, and large, and in doing so, stand apart from the competition.

Are you a bar, restaurant, or any other eating establishment? There’s a lot to consider when it comes to naming your drink and portion sizes!

What Restaurants Have Unique Size Names?

Some restaurants have more or less invented their own language. They have names for sizes, whether it’s drinks or food, that are not your standard “small,” “medium,” or “large.”

The following restaurants have creative names for small, medium, and large:

  • Starbucks
  • Cold Stone Creamery
  • Lucky Wishbone
  • Panda Express
  • The Yard Milkshake Bar
  • Pizza Hut
  • Big Mama’s and Papa’s
  • Peace, Love, & Little Donuts
Source: cnbc.com

Starbucks

Starbucks is the biggest culprit of renaming their sizes. The coffee chain has called their drinks Tall, Grande, Venti, and Trenta since 1983. Howard Shultz, founder of Starbucks, went on a trip to Italy and fell in love with the romance language. He brought the translation for “twenty” (Venti) and “thirty” (Trenta) back with him.

Source: mallofamerica.com

Cold Stone Creamery

Cold Stone Creamery has their cute Like It, Love It, and Gotta Have It size options. You can get “pints” or “scoops” at other ice cream shops, but Cold Stone’s names are in a league of their own.

Source: luckywishbone.com

Lucky Wishbone

The next time you’re in Arizona, be sure to check out Lucky Wishbone, a fast food chain known for their tasty chicken. You’ll be able to order the Jr., Mom, or Pop versions of their dishes, which include fried chicken, shrimp, chicken fingers, fish platters, and even gizzard and liver.

Source: finance.yahoo.com

Panda Express

If you’ve ever been to a Panda Express, you’re probably used to their size names: Bowl, Plate, or Bigger Plate. Newcomers, however, can see what’s included with each size right on the menu.

Source: austin.eater.com

The Yard Milkshake Bar

Are you in the mood for a tasty milkshake? Check out the build-your-own options at The Yard Milkshake Bar in Alabama, a restaurant made famous on the show “Shark Tank.” Don’t forget to also get a Calf Cup, Half Pint, or Boss Bowl of ice cream. This is 1 to 3 scoops of frosty deliciousness!

Source: qsrmagazine.com

Pizza Hut

You can get small, medium, and large pizzas at Pizza Hut, or you can get their extra large PANalicious or PANormous pizzas. The former is about 102 square inches, and the latter is double that size. That’s a whole lot of pizza!

Source: pinterest.com

Big Mama’s and Papa’s

There must be something about pizza that inspires strange size names. Big Mama’s and Papa’s, a pizzeria with several locations, has your standard small, medium, large, and X-large. But they also kick it up a notch with the Jumbo (24”), Big Mama’s (28”), and Big Papa’s (36”).

Source: visitcanton.com

Peace, Love, & Little Donuts

This psychedelic donut shop has locations all across the United States. One of their bestsellers is the Disco Party Box, which is 3 dozen donuts. You can mix-and-match a bunch of unique donut flavors like Apple Pie, Fruity Pebbles, and even PB&J.

Restaurants, diners, and ice cream shops like the ones on this list break from tradition with their sizing. This renaming may seem like no big deal at first, but it does have the potential to create a barrier between the business and the consumer.

An article in Medium perhaps put it best: 

“The easiest way to harm your brand? Confuse your audience.”
– John Zilch, writer for Medium

A name like Gotta Have It doesn’t really tell you much about the serving size, which could be off-putting for people who want to know exactly what they’re getting.

If you do want to use creative names for small, medium, and large, follow the Panda Express model and have the actual sizes/information specified below the names on your menus.

What Are Small, Medium, Large Synonyms?

On the flip side of the argument, you could say that having different size names helps you stand apart from your competitors. After all, Starbucks has over 30,000 stores and made over $24.6 billion in revenue in 2018. Clearly they’re doing something right!

Do you want to rename your sizes? Try some of these alternate synonyms:



Small Synonyms

  • Mini
  • Tiny
  • Baby
  • Little
  • Petite
  • Bitty
  • Itty Bitty
  • Micro
  • Slim
  • Puny
  • Teeny
  • Munchkin
  • Dinky



Medium Synonyms

  • Regular
  • Standard
  • Normal
  • Average
  • The Usual
  • Traditional
  • Ordinary
  • Classic



Large Synonyms

  • Huge
  • Big
  • Full
  • Giant
  • Super
  • Jumbo
  • Grand
  • Gigantic
  • Mega



X-Large Synonyms

  • Gargantuan
  • Bigger
  • Enormous
  • Hefty
  • Massive
  • Colossal
  • Humongous
  • Whopping
  • Monster
  • Very Large
  • King Size
  • Epic

You don’t have to go too crazy when it comes to naming your portion sizes. Stick with unexpected, yet well-known synonyms, and you can easily add some personality to your menu.

Why Are Portion Sizes Important?

While you’re naming your sizes, be sure to think about the actual size of your portions. Make sure to offer a variety of healthy options on your menu that don’t go overboard with the servings.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 40% of adults between the ages of 20 to 39 are currently obese. A lot of blame comes from the fact that people are simply overeating at meals and taking in a ton of calories.  

Americans are also spending a ton of time eating out at restaurants, diners, and other eateries. In fact, 72% of people visit a fast food restaurant for lunch and 6 in 10 Americans eat dinner out at least once a week.

You don’t want your restaurant, diner, or ice cream shop to contribute to the problem. Be mindful of your portions, name them appropriately, and take care of your customers’ appetites and health.

Final Thoughts

Any restaurant, whether they’re a large chain or a family-owned operation, should pay special attention to how they name the sizes on their menu.

Names have a lot of power. In fact, they could do any of the following:

The good:

  • Create a recognizable size system that’s unique to your brand (think Starbucks).
  • Add a bit of personality to your menu.

The bad:

  • Confuse your customers about portion sizes.
  • Encourage people to overeat, even though that’s not your intention.

The right portion size names can make all the difference in the world. Brainstorm a few ideas and get to creating your menu!

References

Smith, C. (2020, May 29). 30 Interesting Starbucks Facts and Statistics (2020) | By the Numbers. Retrieved from, https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/starbucks-statistics/

How Large Are Pizza Hut Pizzas. Retrieved from, http://howlargearepizzahutpizzas.com/

Nelson, B. Roy, I. Starbucks Size Guide: Why Starbucks Coffee Sizes Are Grande, Venti, and Trenta. Retrieved from, https://www.rd.com/article/starbucks-coffee-sizes-explained/

Zilch, J. (2018, June 18). How Much Does Your Product Name Matter? Retrieved from, https://medium.com/@johnzilch/how-much-does-your-product-name-matter-78541ead07a3

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adult Obesity Facts. Retrieved from, https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

Saad, L. (2017, January 11). Americans’ Dining Out Frequency Little Changed From 2008. Retrieved from, https://news.gallup.com/poll/201710/americans-dining-frequency-little-changed-2008.aspx

Lock, S. (2018, March 1). Eating Out Behavior in the U.S. – Statistics & Facts. Retrieved from, https://www.statista.com/topics/1957/eating-out-behavior-in-the-us/

About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over four years of experience in the industry. She is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products and has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute.