A good deal of planning is required to successfully open a new ice cream or gelato shop. Follow these design guidelines, and you’ll be set up to run an efficient and thriving frozen dessert business.
An efficient well thought out back of counter design for your ice cream or gelato shop is an extremely important element of a successful specialty dessert store. The ultimate goal when developing your back of counter area is to create an environment that offers functional efficiency, creates a desire to buy from your clients and supports your menu. Like all aspects of creating your dream frozen dessert shop, supporting your menu in the most effective manner must enter into your planning from the very beginning. Considering everything from placement of menu boards to storage of napkins, cups and spoons must be planned.
It is important to plan your menu in as much as detail as possible before moving through evolutionary phases of your business development. The most successful shops have clearly defined profit centers including ice cream, coffee, baked goods, etc. The back of the counter environment must support the activities of each profit center and include important elements relating to product manufacturing, storage, and presentation. Be clear about items that will be presented on your menu board and clarify your plans relating to preparation and serving components. To make a milkshake, you must have Ice Cream, flavorings, and a blender. But you also need the cups, straws, napkins handy and preferably a sink in the vicinity as well. While planning the back side of your counter, consider every detail to be sure that you have a place for everything and that those items are in a logical position for efficiency. When there are long lines standing at the counter, you will look professional if your back of counter area is well planned.
Make sure your walls, counters and point of sale information presents your menu and your concept in a clear and simple manner. If your main product is ice cream, make sure that your customer understands what you are proposing for them to buy as quickly as possible. All of us have walked up to a counter with a clerk looking at us for a decision while we struggle with the menu. Your customer must be comfortable or they will not continue to come in. Of course, your personnel should be trained to greet and offer samples but the layout of your back area should be in a way to enhance clarity. Product companies offer point of sale material that is professionally designed. Check with your product suppliers during the planning phase.
After fully developing your ideas relating to space and organization of your back of counter, now is the time to choose the layout and design that will enable you to attain your goals. Starting with a simple line drawing can help you develop a preliminary layout that works within the space being developed and serve as a starting point for your architect and designer. Remember that there are codes and requirements that indicate isle width, ADA standards for bar height, electrical and plumbing codes that will need to be taken into account that may require some changes from your original ideas. But having a clear understanding of the desired outcome will enable these adjustments to be made a bit easier.
Now that there is clarity relating to the desire outcome, you reach the exciting part of choosing the final look of your store. By planning well, your final look can be developed in a way that pulls everything together so that the final package is presented in a professional and clear way. There are various options for building the front and back bar. Modular designed systems, for example, can be an option that allows for future flexibility and a professional, clean cut design. Modular systems are flexible and can be moved from one location to another if you choose to move your location. They also allow flexibility if you decide to add a new profit center like coffee or pastries later on. Custom designed built in place cabinetry is another option that allows less flexibility, but can be a great option that allows a great deal of customization.
So, from the very beginning of your planning, think about logistics, efficiency, clarity and of course your budget. Visit other ice cream and gelato stores and consider your overall goal for your business. Work with experienced specialty vendors that will offer assistance and training. If you plan to make your own ice cream or gelato on site, spend time making product with your chosen vendor and discuss back of counter requirements from the very beginning.