Master-Bilt® Refrigeration News & Product Information
Retail Foodservice Sales Are Rebounding – Is Your Refrigeration Equipment Ready?
Good news – despite all the COVID-inspired chaos, retail foodservice sales are not going away! In fact, convenience stores and other similar retail outlets were one of few bright spots in the economic scene over the last year. Convenience stores, for example, saw growth in in-store sales despite a decrease in fuel sales and commuter traffic.
CS News recently cited the NACS Retailer Member Pulse Survey which found 59 percent of U.S. c-store owners reported increased in-store sales, compared to 30 percent who noted a decrease.
When it comes to foodservice, the pandemic has caused store operators to focus more on prepared meals and grab-and-go items. This trend isn’t going away soon. In fact, according to the same CS News article, 58 percent of retailers surveyed by NACS said they would continue to promote prepared meals in 2021. Fifty-one percent will focus more on prepared items like salads and sandwiches and 30 percent will emphasize ready-to-heat meals.
Retailers are optimistic about the coming year and expect sales to continue climbing. The consensus seems to be that after a rough first quarter, the rest of the year will pick up.
With the emphasis on prepared meals and grab-and-go items, it’s time to re-evaluate your refrigeration equipment.
- Do you have the appropriate models to support increased retail foodservice sales?
- Do you need additional equipment to pick up impulse sales on complementary items like beverages and desserts?
- Do you have technology that allows you to monitor and adjust your equipment?
With those questions in mind, here are some equipment ideas for optimizing your retail space.
Self-Contained Merchandisers: A Popular Retail Choice
Self-contained merchandisers are one of the most common types of refrigeration used in retail foodservice sales. Upright reach-in coolers and freezers can be used to showcase everything from beverages to frozen foods and are usually offered in one, two or three door widths.
There are typically two different types of reach-in merchandisers: those with lighted graphic panels on the top or those with full length doors.
A lighted sign is helpful in attracting attention, especially at a distance. If your refrigerated items are located at the back of the store, extra signage could come in handy.
On the other hand, merchandisers with full length doors make it possible to display more products. A wider variety of items can also be attractive.
Either way, there is no wrong answer, it just depends on preference and the specific application.
Endless Glass Door Merchandisers: Many Options To Fit Retail Needs
Endless merchandisers are offered in modules of two, three, four or five doors which can be combined for as many doors as you need. They are typically placed along the perimeter of the store in cooler, freezer or combination line ups.
Endless models are offered in different styles to fit your needs. Models with remote refrigeration systems are ideal for removing heat and noise from the sales space. These models are typically used in situations where mounting the refrigeration system on a roof is not an issue.
For areas with tighter spaces, there are models with a top-mounted refrigeration system. These systems are designed for quick installation as they are pre-charged with refrigerant and are equipped with quick connect fittings and flexible hoses.
Look for models with full height doors for full product visibility. Deep shelving is also important as it allows each model to hold more product and saves re-stocking time. Of course, quality lighting is a must. These days LED lighting is standard on most everything but, for added efficiency, look for Design Lighting Consortium listed LED lights that produce more lumens per watt.
Display Chest Freezers & Countertop Merchandisers: Take Advantage Of Retail Sales Flow
Display chest freezers are mostly used to showcase ice cream and other frozen treats. They are lightweight and typically on casters so they can be easily situated anywhere in a store to take advantage of traffic flow.
Countertop refrigerators and freezers are ideal for positioning in point of purchase spots to capture additional retail foodservice sales. For example, use them as a beverage cooler next to your check out area or an ice cream treat display next to your prepared meal display.
Walk In Coolers and Freezers: More Retail Capacity
If you need more capacity than a reach-in merchandiser can provide, consider a glass door walk 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.
Another advantage 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 are planning a beer cave, a walk in is a must.
Electronic Controller Systems: Adapting To Technology
One of the offshoots of COVID is an increased adaptation of technology. Contactless interaction and remote data gathering are becoming the norm across many industries. Electronic controller systems are a way to adapt the technology trend for your refrigeration equipment.
Many types of refrigeration equipment now offer standard electronic controller systems that allow you to remotely monitor and program through the internet.
There is no need for a service tech to climb onto a roof or even enter the walk in to adjust the refrigeration system. Constant access to data also allows users to improve refrigeration system performance and avoid service issues.
Electronic controller systems not only let you keep tabs on your refrigeration, but they also provide installation and energy savings. Wiring costs and refrigerant charge are lowered while energy usage is reduced significantly compared to an all-mechanical system.
Multi-Compressor Refrigeration Systems: Boosting Efficiency Behind The Scenes
While it is not a merchandising solution, a remotely located multi-compressor refrigeration system, typically mounted on the roof or next to the building, can boost your store’s efficiency.
Remote systems act as a single refrigeration system for all equipment inside a store. If you tie in all your refrigeration equipment, including merchandisers, walk ins and ice machines, to a single multi-compressor system, it removes the heat produced by multiple systems inside your 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.
Now Is THE Time
With retail sales predicted to rebound soon, this is the time to examine your store layout and see what changes are needed to stay on top of product and technology trends. Remember, if you need assistance with selecting or updating equipment, contact your local dealer or call us at 800-647-1284.