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Ice cream isn’t just a dessert, it’s an experience. It’s the memories you have with your family after a beach day. It’s that first date. Or catching up late at night with friends. Consumers choose their ice cream parlor not only for its scoops, but for the atmosphere it provides. Ice cream shop design is happy and colorful, and there’s endless opportunity for creativity. Here are some best practices on how to make your ice cream shop design stand out against the competition.
In this article about ice cream shop design we’ll walk you through:
- A variety of different eye-catching restaurant design tips
- Best practices to help your shop beat out the competition
- Real ice cream shop examples that use these tools successfully
Ice cream is a classic dessert that never seems to go out of style – prepare your ice cream parlor dreams with this business plan template.
11 Creative Ice Cream Shop Design Ideas
1. Mix materials
Mixing different types of materials in your ice cream shop design can create a fresh, welcoming atmosphere. Whitewall tile pairs well with many other elements and colors. Consider what types of materials you use: gold, silver, or maybe copper? Match different materials accordingly to create a unique, beautiful ice cream shop.
JoJo’s Creamery located in Encinitas, CA perfectly mixes wood, white wall tile, and whitewashed concrete flooring to create a bright space
2. Details matter
In small shops, details matter most. Ice cream shops are down-to-earth and happy places. Decorate accordingly with your restaurant branding and stay consistent. Some details to consider are your:
- Tip jar
- Bell on the door
- Handwritten menus/flavors
- Background music
- Bright furniture
- Light-colored aprons/uniforms
- Consistent color scheme throughout
The details in Besties Cool Treats located in San Diego, California are absolutely remarkable. This sprinkle-coated wallpaper next to the retro blue chairs (not to mention the cat phone) creates quite the aesthetic.
3. Build a welcoming entrance
Your ice cream shop entrance should be very welcoming. Guests should see your sign and want to step inside. Consider a glass door with your logo printed on it. You want customers to be able to see inside your ice cream shop.
Colombia’s Soft Touch built a friendly entrance with a teal-painted door frame filled with glass. On nice days they keep these doors open to show off their fun interior.
4. Ice cream with a show
Nowadays, scooping out ice cream is not the only way to serve people. Consumers want their ice cream to be rolled, smashed, and even made from liquid nitrogen. Consider how you display your product, as well as how you serve it. For rolled ice cream, it’s important to incorporate glass into your interior design so guests can watch their dessert be made. Places like this should also consider their window placement, as the show attracts more customers.
Lulu’s Ice Cream in Miami specializes in nitrogen ice cream, so they keep their mixers on display to show off how they make their creations.
5. Consider a nostalgic concept
After World War II ended, Americans consumed over 20 quarts of ice cream per person to celebrate. Ice cream has been a classic delicacy in America for a long time and will continue to dominate the dessert industry. People love that throwback retro diner look, and it may be a suitable option for your ice cream shop.
Located at the historic Hotel Del Coronado in California, Mootime Creamery is filled with nostalgia. Its atmosphere has a 1950’s-inspired, family-friendly feeling.
6. Tiled Walls
A classic ice cream shop design element is wall tile. You can choose a pastel color for your accent wall, or cover all 4 walls with white tile. There are also a variety of shapes and sizes. You can incorporate round, square, and even hexagon-shaped tiles into your design. Consider what tile is on the floor and how you can either contrast it or compliment it. Tile adds a little bit of shine to your shop and is worth the extra effort.
Frohzen, located in Miami’s Design District, decorates its accent wall with lots of light green wall tiles to add a simple yet dynamic component to its interior design.
7. Make the most of a small space
Ice cream stores can be as small as 80 square feet. Don’t let the size of your shop discourage you. As long as you have enough space in your freezers, you have everything you need. Just be sure to utilize every square inch of available space when it comes to design…including your ceiling. Take advantage of it by hanging fun lights or plants, or adding tiles to it.
Table Caffe in Boston’s historic North End does an excellent job of decorating with limited space. Their beautiful ceiling distracts from how low it is, and they make sure to stuff the store with as many products as possible!
8. Mismatched patterns and wallpapers
Wallpaper is back, and the options are endless. Mixing different wallpaper patterns and colors to go with your tile and ceiling is an easy yet effective way to make your shop stand out. Look at a color wheel and take note of which colors compliment each other.
Rocambolesc in Girona created a unique design by adding wallpaper on the pipes and poles around its shop, which contrast its light blue walls.
9. Make it picture-worthy
People love posting fun foods and desserts on social media. Keep this in mind as you design your ice cream shop interior. Add a fun wall as a photo backdrop for your guests. Some design elements for a picture-worthy place to consider are:
- Special light fixtures
- Distinctive furniture
- Word art
- Unique wall art/patterns
Peddler’s Creamery in LA has colorful walls and stationary bikes to create a perfect photo opp. Who doesn’t love free marketing?
10. Show off your logo
If you’ve already decided on the perfect ice cream shop name, show it off. Your name and logo should be plastered on both your packaging and on your shop’s interior. There are a variety of different signage options nowadays such as:
- Chalk art
- Hand-painted calligraphy
Icy-N-Spicy has a prime location on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach. Its colorful, LED-lit interior can be seen from the beach and its logo and name sit right on the first wall you see when entering the shop.
11. Put your flavors on display
The most important aspect of your ice cream shop is your display case, which shows off all your magnificent flavors. It should be the centerpiece of your store and very organized. Your guests should be able to tell which flavor is which, and they should be placed in categories that make sense next to each other (classics, fruity, candy-flavored…etc).
The Gelato Fiasco located in Brunswick, ME has a massive display case for its gelato, imported from Italy.
Leave an impression
Other factors such as your restaurant POS and other ice cream technologies can help make your customer experience even better, and keep them coming back for more. There are also many ways to modernize your restaurant with the use of QR codes and touchless payment options. Stay up to date and design your ice cream parlor with your customer in mind.
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