How to Lay Out an Ice Cream Store

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Carefully plan the store layout to optimize your business plan.
Carefully plan the store layout to optimize your business plan. (Image: Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Ice cream is not only a welcome treat for holiday makers along the coast, but is also for anybody who has a bit of a sweet tooth. You may be the envy of your friends if you're opening your own ice cream parlor, but perhaps you are stumped at how to lay it out. It is crucial to get this part of the business plan right, because you need to tempt passersby inside. But, with the right know-how, you can create a cool interior.

Go on a ice cream store tour in your local area. Visit other premises to investigate how each store is designed. Make a list of common features or elements, plus aspects of each layout that you like and dislike.

Write a list of everything that you need to arrange inside the shop. Freezers, drink machines, seating, counters and shelving all need a home inside the store. Know exactly what you have to deal with before you embark on the big plan.

Measure the area of the store. Draw a floor plan with these dimensions included. Then, take measurements for all the objects you listed during Step 2. There is no point planning a layout that cannot physically accommodate the size of the furniture.

Position the freezer in your design first. This is the most important and bulkiest object. You need to show off your ice cream so it is important that your customers see it from directly outside the store. Turn it so it faces the main doorway or walkway.

Plan where to put the counter. It needs to be easily accessible, but out of the way from the main gangway in front of the freezer window. Customers choosing and paying for ice cream will be frustrated if they have to cross over one another. Put it at one end of the freezer, preferably not the side where the customers first enter the store. If you have two freezers, choose to position in between.

Create a space for seating, such as benches and stools. Assess the dimensions of the remaining space. Work out how the traffic will flow into the store. Customers walk in, go to the ice cream freezer, look, choose and pay. Therefore, create a seating area that does not conflict with these activities. Separate it away from the busy counter.

Identify the equipment that needs to go behind the counter. A microwave, drinks fridge or shelving, storage and ice cream cone shelves are typical areas found here. Lay them out in a practical fashion. Do not position a microwave next to the cones; instead, put it on the end on a different unit, close to the chocolate sauce or other foods that require occasional heating.

Tips & Warnings

  • Think about hanging artwork, posters or pictures on the walls as you create your design. Begin considering color schemes to keep you motivated through the planning process.
  • Don't clutter up the ice cream store. Customers will be put off if it seems messy, unclean or inaccessible. Make access as easy as possible.

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