Buying Guide: Choosing the Right Display Case for your Foodservice Business

Last updated on May 21st, 2024 at 11:03 am


Whether a customer is grabbing a bite to eat or doing routine shopping in the deli, you want your merchandise to look appealing; and that starts with how you display your products. There are many factors to consider when choosing the right display case for your foodservice establishment. Refrigerated display cases offer both closed and open air units for a variety of uses.   To find the ideal display cases for your business ask yourself: What is the floor plan of your establishment? Do you want customers to serve themselves? Are you displaying hot or cold foods? Here are a number of factors to consider when purchasing a merchandise display case.

Use and Maintenance

Determine what you’ll be using your display case for to decide if a refrigerator, freezer or open air merchandiser is needed.  Refrigerated display cases are manufactured with a number of helpful features. For merchandising product, glass doors and open air models are best. If you plan to showcase items that are considered impulse purchases, then a lower profile glass door or open display unit may be more suitable.  You may also consider display cases with worktops on the back if you’re opening a deli.


Keeping your customers safe will be one of your top priorities. While food and merchandise look better when they’re well lit, most health departments require that the lights in refrigerated display cases be encapsulated so that they are contained in case of breakage. This way, glass can’t get into open food. Check with your health department before you pick a case with front lights and shelf lights to keep your merchandise lit and visible.

Also keep in mind that it’s important for open air models do not receive direct sunlight, nor should they be located under ventilation or air conditioning ducts. The additional heat and airflow will result in a disruption of the air curtain circulating throughout the merchandiser, which keeps stored items cool. As a result, the case may not be able to hold food at safe temperatures.

Location, Location, Location

Refrigerated display cases generally require an electrical supply and drain within 6 feet of the unit. Humidity in the air will result in a certain amount of condensation within the unit that can drip down the inside of the case, resulting in the need for a floor drain. If a floor drain is not available, then it is important to specify a unit with an electric condensate evaporator.

Space Constraints

In addition to location, keep in mind the space available for your display case.  When shopping for a deli or ice cream display case, ensure that the refrigeration system is adequately sized for the amount and type of product you plan to display. Don’t forget to determine if the unit will be incorporated into existing cabinetry or fixtures. Keep in mind that not all reach-ins are the same width, height and depth.


Finally, make sure that your display case has a warranty so that in the unfortunate event that it is defective in materials or workmanship, you can get it back into working order quickly.

Ready to start shopping? Burkett Restaurant Equipment offers a full selection of Curved Glass Display Cases, Glass Door Merchandisers, Horizontal Merchandisers, Open Display Merchandisers, Deli Cases and Sushi Display Cases.

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2 Responses

  1. James Smith says:

    It’s truly a nice and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you simply shared this useful info with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Duncan Lance says:

    I do like that you bring up the importance of durability when picking out a refrigerated display case. After all, you want to make sure that that kind of equipment can last for a while. It also might help to check on the durability of the hoses so that there are no leaks on your grocery store floor.