May 2017

Master-Bilt® Refrigeration News & Product Information

Boost Foodservice Sales With The Right Refrigeration

Let’s say a working mom enters your store on the way home from a long day at the office. She’s in a hurry to pick up the kids from soccer practice, get home and take care of a multitude of other daily chores. She dropped by your store for gasoline or a beverage and, since there’s precious little time for dinner preparation, she decides to pick up something to take home for dinner.

Can she find what she’s looking for in your store?

Foodservice continues to be a major source of profit for convenience stores, supermarkets, dollar stores and other retail outlets. If you’re not taking full advantage of the trend, you may be missing out on a major boost to your bottom line.  To cite a few examples from

  • C-store proprietary foodservice programs have experienced a compound annual growth rate of 2.4% from 2010 to 2015.1
  • Drug stores are enjoying an increase in foodservice sales due to affordability, fast service, overall convenience and several other factors. 2
  • The margin on non-foodservice items in c-stores is 27%, according to NACS, while foodservice generates a 57% margin.1

To make foodservice successful, you should first create the optimum merchandising plan for your store. Then add the proper refrigeration equipment to make the plan come together. With the right plan and equipment, you can turn your business into a popular destination. Every business has different needs and specialties but here are some suggestions as to how refrigeration equipment can contribute to your merchandising plan.

Front of the House

The front of the store is point-of-purchase gold. You can use a variety of equipment around cash registers or end caps to capitalize on impulse buys and showcase your foodservice program.

Open display or grab-and-go merchandisers: These cases can be placed on front end caps or anywhere else for that matter. Both horizontal and higher-capacity vertical versions are usually available. The main advantage to open air cases is quick access to freshly prepared sandwiches and salads or beverages. Most open air cabinets will have retractable night curtains hold in cold air during off hours to save energy as well as LED canopy lighting for optimum product illumination and lower energy usage.

Open air merchandisers provide quick access to freshly prepared sandwiches, salads and beverages.

Bakery and deli merchandisers: These cases can actually be situated anywhere in the store to support deli or bakery sales. Place them close to your prep area to display fresh sandwiches or breads or, if your deli or baked goods will be a main focus in your plan, an up-front location may be better. Look for a case that’s classified to NSF standards for food zone requirements. Benefits of this classification include:

• The storing of food in open containers, pans and platters
• Reduced packaging costs
• Quicker, more convenient service to customers

Ice cream cabinets: Ice cream is a popular item year-round. If your store plan calls for hand-dipped ice cream, there are many sizes and types of dipping cabinets to suit your needs. Choices begin with traditional dipping cabinets. These are designed strictly for holding the ice cream, usually in 9 gallon tubs. If you want an area to hold toppings or syrups, a topping center model will fit the bill and give you the authentic ice cream shop effect at the same time.  Dipping/display merchandisers are probably the most popular option as they combine the dipping cabinet storage with a glass lid for merchandising.  Many lid options, including standard lid, low front glass and curved glass, are available. For more on developing an ice cream selling strategy, see the article in our March 2016 edition.

Back of the House

More than ever, on-the-go customers are looking for fresher, healthier food choices. Be sure the back of the house (or wherever you plan to locate your prep area) is well equipped to handle the demand. Work space is typically tight so look for equipment that will make the most of what you have.

Prep units: Prep units are a must for creating sandwiches, salads and pizzas. On top there are pans to store ingredients and a cutting board to serve as a work space. Underneath, there’s a refrigerated storage area. Ideally, the pans will be in an enclosed section with forced air flowing into it to keep items consistently cold. This divided area also keeps food from spilling into the lower storage area. Units with a front-breathing refrigeration system design allow for zero-clearance installation on sides and back, saving you more space.

A couple of options that provide extra capacity and convenience are single or double overshelves for additional storage space above the unit and refrigerated drawers for quicker access to stored items.

Look for a prep unit that includes standard pans. Depending on your menu, you may want to use larger sized pans for frequently used ingredients like lettuce. For that reason, it’s helpful to have locking adapter bars running front-to-back and side-to-side to allow mixed sized pans. Mega top units also give you an extra row of pans for added capacity.

Undercounters and chef bases: These cabinets supply necessary storage for meats, vegetables and other ingredients. To save space, look for undercounter refrigerators and freezers that can be integrated into counters and use chef bases that you can stack cooking equipment on top of. Stacking kits for single door undercounters allow you to place one on top of another. You can stack two refrigerators, two freezers or create a cooler/freezer in one location. For more on this option.

Reach-ins: No prep area would be complete without a reach-in refrigerator and/or freezer. Reach-ins provide additional storage beyond an undercounter or prep unit and are available in solid and glass door models. Typically, one-, two and three-section models are available. Glass door models make it easy to see contents without having to open doors. Half solid door models add efficiency because you can open doors without losing all the cool air inside the reach-in.

Reach-ins provide more storage than an undercounter or prep unit and are available in solid and glass door models.

Walk-ins: Need more storage than a reach-in provides? That’s where walk-in coolers and freezers come in. There’s a huge amount of flexibility with walk-ins. They can be configured virtually any way you want with a vast array of options. L-shaped boxes and cooler/freezer combos are just a couple of ideas.  For more on options.

Other Equipment to Consider

Including foodservice in your store plan can also lead to additional sales in other areas, such as beverages, frozen treats and other items. For that reason, you may want to consider the following equipment to expand and support sales.

Countertop merchandisers: Depending on your available space, a countertop refrigerator or freezer merchandiser can catch the customer’s eye and pick up extra sales on beverages or frozen novelties.

Display freezers: These mobile merchandisers can be wheeled into place next to end caps or registers to capture last-minute sales of ice cream novelties and popsicles.

Glass door merchandisers: There are numerous widths and heights to fit your layout with one-, two- and three-door model refrigerators and freezers typically available. You can also choose between swing and slide door and self-contained or remote refrigeration models. Depending on your preference, you can get merchandisers with a top-mounted lighted sign to draw customer attention or opt for models with full length glass doors which provide the maximum product display.

Endless glass door merchandisers, with modules in several different widths, may be combined to form a continuous lineup of as many doors as you need. Create cooler/freezer lineups as well with self-contained or remote refrigeration systems.

Glass door walk-ins: One of the advantages to a glass door walk-in is you can have merchandising in the front and storage in the back. Stationary or movable shelving allows you to place beverages or other items upfront leaving you access room in the back for easy re-stocking. Also, if you’re planning to have a beer cave, a walk-in is a must.

Glass door walk-ins combine merchandising with storage.

Outside or On the Roof

While it’s not a merchandising solution, a remotely-located rack refrigeration system, typically mounted on the roof or next to the building, can boost your store’s efficiency.

Remote rack systems act as a single refrigeration system for all equipment inside a store. Remoting all refrigerated equipment, including reach-ins, walk-ins and ice machines, to a single multi-compressor or parallel system, removes the heat produced by multiple refrigeration units inside a kitchen or store and reduces air conditioning load and energy bills. A remote system also reduces noise level and service calls and extends the life of equipment.

There are several types of rack systems from dual compressor models all the way up to parallel systems with all the options. For more information on choosing the right rack system for your business,see our webpage here.

18 Fundamental Stats on C-Store Foodservice. (2016, October 19). Retrieved from

Grocery/Drug/Mass Foodservice Trend 2014: Wins Beyond Wegmans? (2014, June) Retrieved from