A hot food display is available in three types to satisfy a variety of needs.
- Countertop models are convenient in that they can be placed virtually anywhere there is room and an adequate power supply.
- Floor models provide stability for long-term, high-volume use, making them ideal if you have plenty of floor space available and lots of items to merchandise.
- Drop-in displays slide into an existing counter, hiding the heating mechanism and allowing for a flush mount.
The shape of the glass makes a significant impact on the way the unit will look. Straight inserts reduce glare from ambient light that can obscure the visibility of products. Curved glass maximizes interior space and can be top-hinged to tilt up for easy cleaning. The curved glass models typically have a slightly larger footprint to accommodate the depth of the unit.
- Closed display cases provide customers with the benefit of full-service. They are useful for items that need to be weighed or packaged, or when customers need to pay before they can pick up their items. Additionally, they eliminate the potential for burns or other mishaps, since customers cannot access the unit themselves.
- Open cases allow for the convenience of self-service and add to the ability for customers to make impulse purchases. They can also cut down on payroll costs, since these don't require that an employee be stationed at the case to assist customers.
A hot food merchandiser can be configured so that customers may reach in through a front access for self-service applications. Some operators may prefer to wait on customers, in which case a rear-access design may be more appropriate. Units that can be accessed from both sides are excellent for buffets or anywhere you want employees to be able to stock the unit while customers take their items.
Some models come equipped with additional refrigerated sections. A unit that has both a refrigerated display area along with a heated one can help to satisfy all your customers' grab-and-go impulse buys. Some models have dual-temp capabilities, which means you can transform your unit from heated to cooled or ambient without the cost of additional equipment.
Not only can units go totally hot and cold, they can have the option of being convertible temp, meaning that you can have hot and cold items within the same unit.
Depending on the type of food you'd like to display, you may need to make sure your unit has humidity control. Some foods may dry out under certain warming conditions, and the ability to control the humidity inside the unit can prevent crisp foods from turning soggy.
Storage bases can provide a dual benefit. They can allow much-needed space for servingware or non-perishable food items, and they can raise the level of the case for easier access. They may also be refrigerated.
Most vendors offer a lighted display, making it easy for impulse shoppers to see the merchandise. Lighting may be mounted overhead or on the shelves. The lighting is typically fluorescent or LED, so it doesn't continue to cook prepared food.
Adjustable shelves make it easy to change the shelving layout to best suit what you're displaying. You can easily adjust them to accommodate the heights of products and highlight select items.
A hot food display case is available in a wide variety of colors and with customizable signage areas. You can also choose to have a black interior that can make the appearance of food pop, but in some locations, this goes against sanitation codes. Check with your local officials before making your choice.
Flat shelves prevent items from slipping, while slanted ones make it easier for customers to see your products. Flat shelves can hold large, heavy pans of food. Slanted shelves are better suited for pre-packaged foods that have a high replenishment rate.