unique ice cream shop builds

Unique & Innovative Ice Cream Shop, Tea Shop, Bakery, & Coffee Shop Builds

by | Sep 25, 2020 | Blog

If you’re anything like us, you enjoy the experience of entering a retail food shop for treats even more when it is clear that they spent a lot of time planning out the space and thoughtfully selecting features and finishes that take the ambiance to the next level! We’ve see a lot of cool, innovative design happening in the retail food shop space– bright bake shops, edgy cafes, whimsical tea houses, and quirky ice cream/frozen yogurt joints and gelaterias.  In this post we focus on functional features that have a big impact on making a space stand out.

Target Audience

The first consideration to focus on is your customers– your shop design and layout will depend on who they are and what appeals most to their demographic. It is invaluable for business owners to view their operation from the eyes of a new customer, ensuring that someone entering the shop for the first time would know where to get in line, wait for their order, etc. First impressions are key, so right off the bat your design decisions should convey your dedication to quality to customers and create an ideal ambiance.  Again, an effective interior begins with a great layout that allows you serve people efficiently. Showcasing your uniqueness and using design to meet customer needs will yield an excellent customer experience that will keep them coming back.


Storefront Design

Your shop’s exterior should support your brand concept.  While there may be restrictions on what you can do to the outside of your business, you can choose signage and other features that will entice customers to come in off the street.  Custom awnings, extensive landscaping, eccentric outdoor seatings– whatever you choose to do to the exterior should be an extension of your brand and help to tell its story. It can be beneficial to make part of the service area visible from the outside. People go where people are, many times they assume that a busy restaurant is a place worth trying. Ultimately, a store front that stands out can help passers by quickly identify your business is what it has to offer.


unique ice cream shop builds
Balboa's Review
Ice Scream via Asthetique

Ice Scream by Costas Picadas


Lighting design for eateries is more nuanced than general commercial lighting. Moods created by lighting can stimulate customer appetites or even alienate them. Bright lighting, appropriately balance with ambient light, can help promote a friendly vibe. Accent lighting helps to highlight certain interior features. Decorative lighting, such as elaborate fixtures, complements the interior style of the space. Natural light will reinforce a well-ventilated, atmospheric outlook, it also makes the interior seem refreshing and spacious.


Color & Interior Finishes

Consider whether want your coffee shop to be bright and spacious or subdued, cozy, and intimate. Color and material can either enhance your space’s visual aesthetic or make it seem boring.  The right amount of color might be just enough to make an impact– using too much can be overwhelming to customers’ eyes.  You can build some great interior features out of inexpensive elements. Limited space may mean cutting back on decorations in order to avoid your customers feeling crammed in. As for flooring, many times the cheapest option is a great one, such as finished concrete.  Or, depending on the look and feel you are going for, you could find some inexpensive, extremely durable vinyl tile. Rubber base should coordinate with your color scheme. The walls of older buildings can be beautiful when left in their natural state, if they are in good condition. Carefully consider whether you want to camouflage ductwork or paint it bright colors to make a statement. The color of the ceiling can affect the feeling of size in your space– small spaces will feel more open with bright ceilings. Add distinctive touches to your space with wall treatments such as murals, wainscoting, textures, faux finishes, and decorative borders.




Design your space around your equipment need.  In doing so, you can avoid sacrificing equipment quality and product quality due to a compromised or improperly planned floor plan or store layout.


Floor Plan and Layout

A cramped look may drive customers away from your shop before they even step through the door. Ensure you have enough space for seating, your counter, your point of sale, and enough maneuverability for your staff and customers. To save money, you might consider limiting the number of walls you demolish, and/or laying out the plumbing fixtures around existing plumbing. Restroom and kitchen areas can be placed near one another so that they both use the same plumbing.The flow of your staff and customers within the space is also a huge consideration. The amount of square footage allocated to each seated guest depends on your restaurant’s service type, with counter service being 18-20 square feet per customer and fast-food being 11-14 square feet per person. Don’t forget to plan the design with ADA accessibility regulations and local regulations in mind. In certain cases, small shops may not need to have a restroom for their guests.


Create An  Instagrammable, Interactive Space

People enjoy immersing themselves in dining experiences, and sharing them on social media. Adding eye-catching, attractive elements to your shop can help create a full-fledged experience for your guests while also serving as free marketing.

Ice Scream via Asthetique

Shugaa by Party/Space/Design

Some of Emerald Inc.’s Retail Food Shop Projects


Balboa's Completion Photo
Balboa's Completion Photo

Rockwell Ice Cream

Mama Linda’s Bakeshop

Mama Linda's Bakeshop Phoenix Complete
Mama Linda's Bakeshop Phoenix Complete

We had a great experience, overall, with Emerald.  Yes, there were a number of hiccups, which happens in every business.  However, Quinten was great about looking for solutions and accepting accountability, even when problems weren’t directly his fault.  Quinten was always great about answering his phone and being responsive. 

Max and Ron were amazing and extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and handy.  Vance is very approachable and easy to work with, and helps bring levity to the team, which helps counterbalance Quinten’s serious demeanor. 🙂

Quinten has created a great team that we enjoyed working with.  

Dano Dayton, Rockwell Ice Cream

Retail Shop Design Inspiration Board


We’ve pulled together some ideas that will give your business a fresh, memorable feel!


Ultimately, amazing interior design requires a thorough understanding of your concept, target audience, and thee limitations of your space.  The end goal is to create a floor plan that helps staff work effectively and your customers to have a wonderful experience. In this post we’ve covered some concepts that should help businesses find the right balance of efficiency and aesthetics while staying within their budget. The design of a retail shop is a big factor that impacts each visitor’s perception of the brand– with an amazing design, a shop’s brand awareness can skyrocket.

If you are thinking about remodeling or building a new retail shop please email us today or call us at 480-832-9808, so that we can help you design and build a space that will provide a positive experience for workers and visitors alike!

unique ice cream shop builds