Freezer Display Merchandisers Buyers' Guide
Whether you run a convenience store, an ice cream shop, or a restaurant that sells frozen entrées for customers to take home and enjoy, the right freezer display merchandiser will display your frozen products in a way that can promote impulse purchases and boost sales.
In order to find the best freezer display merchandiser for your establishment's needs, you'll need to understand what size will serve you best. Begin by determining the amount of room you have available and the amount of merchandise you plan on keeping in the freezer. Freezer display merchandisers start at sizes small enough to sit on a countertop and go all the way up to full-sized, stand-up freezers, which can have one to three sections.
Display freezers' capacities are generally given in cubic feet, but the most important feature to look at is the number of shelves the equipment includes. Knowing the size and number of shelves you'll have to work with will help you choose a freezer with plenty of room to accommodate all of your frozen goods. In general, each merchandiser section will include four shelves, so a one-section freezer usually has four shelves, a two-section freezer has eight shelves, and so on.
Keep in mind that it's important not to overfill a display freezer. Doing so can result in an overworked compressor that struggles to keep food adequately frozen. If you're on the fence between two freezer sizes, it may pay to go with the larger one so you'll have plenty of room to store your products as business grows.
Your new freezer display merchandiser will be built with one of two kinds of doors. Swinging doors are the most common. Swinging doors are self-closing and latch magnetically to ensure the cabinet is sealed when a customer walks away from the equipment. Most swinging doors will also stay open past 90 degrees so employees can have unhampered access to the cabinet to clean and stock it.
The alternatives to swinging doors are sliding doors, which are only available on freezers with two or more sections. Sliding doors are great for use in locations where the aisles may be too narrow to comfortably accommodate swinging doors. To prevent condensation from obscuring customers' view of your products, door heaters are common inclusions on both types of merchandiser.
As with any type of refrigeration equipment, it's important to understand how the location of your merchandiser's refrigeration components will affect the equipment's performance. The majority of freezer display merchandisers are built with bottom-mounted condensing units, which provide a number of benefits:
- Equipment with this setup provides higher bottom shelves than top-mounted equipment, raising products held there to levels that are easier for customers to reach without having to stoop.
- Bottom-mounted condensing units are easy to access, simplifying service and maintenance.
- Since bottom-mounted components are away from the hotter air that rises towards the ceiling, this equipment can be more energy efficient.
Although they're rare, you may encounter display merchandisers with top-mounted condensing units, with those found almost exclusively on smaller models and specialty units like ice merchandisers. Top-mounted condensing units may be more difficult to service, but due to their location on top of the machine and away from the debris on the floor, they draw in much less dirt. However, because hot air rises, top-mounted compressors are sometimes less energy efficient, since they must work harder to cool the refrigerant in the hotter air near the ceiling.
Some smaller freezers may have their compressors mounted in the rear or in one side of the cabinet or the other. Each of these setups brings with it different clearance considerations. Both must be given adequate clearance from walls and other equipment to allow ample air circulation. If your equipment must be installed in a crowded lineup or a cramped countertop, choose equipment with front- or rear-breathing refrigeration that doesn't require side clearance.
Other Features to Consider
Consider these available features as you narrow in on the perfect merchandiser solution for your establishment:
- Many freezer display merchandisers offer features specifically for marketing your products, such as lit signage areas that can be fitted with your own custom graphics or signs provided by the manufacturer.
- All freezer display merchandisers have lighted interiors, but some include LED lights instead of fluorescent bulbs, creating a brighter, more energy-efficient light to showcase your products.
- Many models also offer decorative exterior finishes so you can select a freezer that will match your store's décor.
- Bottom drains make it easy to handle spills and to clean the cabinet routinely. Just be aware that health codes forbid merchandisers with drains from storing food outside of its original, sealed package.
- To help keep energy costs down, look for freezers that are ENERGY STAR certified, as they have been tested and proven to be significantly more energy efficient than the average model in the same category.