As consumers we seldom think about display cases. Yet, we see them everywhere. They are the prominent feature of most delicatessens, butcher shops, and supermarkets. They house expensive electronics, games, and antiques. Lit up merchandisers that allow products to better catch our eyes in almost every shop and store we visit.
The use of display cases to present items and products is a long-standing practice. Taking inspiration from museums, glass displays were a popular way to showcase new inventions and exciting products as early as 1851 (the first World’s Fair).
However, visual merchandising became a part of the shopping experience even earlier than that. When Dry Goods Stores and General Stores began moving into retail environments, their shop windows were used to display goods and entice foot traffic. Many shops still engage in this practice today. Shop owners began arranging their items in aesthetically pleasing ways inside their stores as well.
What About Displaying Food?
The first chilled displays were made in the early 1900s. These display cases were for meat, the products kept cool with ice and salt. Besides creating uneven temperatures throughout the case, the ice would need to be checked and refilled throughout the day.
Thanks to advances in refrigeration, as well as wireless and digital technologies, food displays have come a long way. Displaying foods of all types has never been easier, more energy efficient, or more personalized to each business’ needs.
These advances are a great thing for businesses and consumers alike, allowing for more consistent and safer food products. But because there are so many options available, it can be hard to decide which display case is best for your business.
Below are some of the criteria to consider when choosing a display case!
Display cases vary in size. Most models are available in a variety of widths, depths, and heights. There are also options for different styles of glass. (Straight glass displays are currently very popular, but many people still prefer curved glass models as well.)
For smaller spaces, or for stores that want to add a limited amount of a specific product, cases like the EZ Series (for gelato and ice cream) are a great way to add frozen desserts to your shop or store. Displays such as the Vista or Passion have multiple shelves. Allowing you to maximize your product area in one space!
For larger spaces, or businesses that want displays integrated into their counter (such as butcher shops, bakeries, or delicatessens) our cases can be channeled together, creating a seamless string of displays. Many of our display cases even be channeled on an angle!
Space planning isn’t all about the height and width of the case, but also the depth of the case. How much room is needed (if any) between the display and the wall or the backbar? Do employees have to go behind the case as they work? Will the display be apart of the counter?
There is also an aesthetic element to this. Nine+ for instance, is the narrowest depth professional display on the market today. This creates a very contemporary look that can effect the design of your store in a major way!
Display cases are as much about keeping your products fresh as they are about showing them off. Sometimes when we think about food and temperature, it is only in terms of “hot” or “cold.” But for display cases, specific temperatures can be important.
Imagine putting uncovered cake or pastries in a deep freezer. They wouldn’t spoil necessarily, but it would completely ruin the cake’s consistency, texture, and taste. Likewise, putting hot prepared foods in a case that’s too hot will dry your food out. When customers purchase your products, you want them to be at their best.
You also want the temperatures in your case to be even. With the products in front the same, consistent temperature as the ones in the back or the middle. Features like fan assisted temperature distribution helps to ensure this.
Most of our cases come in a variety of temperature options. Some even offer humidity control (chocolate and macaron display cases generally have this feature). A few of our display cases, such as our E-Line, “Dupla” model allows for dual temperature zones. This allows the user to switch the case from a regular chilled model, to one with humidity control. This option is great for businesses that sell pastries in the morning and chocolates later on the in day (or vice versa).
Or perhaps offer Macaron during one season and cupcakes the next.
At GTI Designs, most of our displays are available in models for either: hot, cold, or dry/ambient. They have digital temperature read-outs and can be adjusted accordingly within their range.
It seems that everything has gained an exponential number of optional features. Cars, coffee pots, TVs, microwaves. Everything has evolved to meet the needs of individual users.
Display cases are no different. Optional shelving, rear doors for easier re-stock, LED lighting (this is a must have for most cases, in our opinion), remote condensing units, etc. Every business has different needs, and every display case has different options.
Ask the Experts
GTI Designs has 30 years of experience providing display cases for all food service and retail needs. Our reps are easy to reach and ready to learn about your concept and products, and can help find the perfect display case for your business.
An added benefit, is that GTI Designs also has 30 years of design experience. This means you can have the entirety of your food service or retail concept done under one roof! If we are not designing your shop or store, our reps can still provide expert input on which displays will best compliment your design vision!
Almost all our cases have choices for colors and laminates. However, we can also provide custom counter and millwork to make sure your displays are a perfect reflection of your business.