One of the best ways to attract more customers to your cafe, bistro or restaurant is by updating your catering equipment. For example, a professional crepe maker or waffle machine will allow you to serve freshly cooked snacks quickly and easily, and the enticing aroma will tempt people passing by. Another essential is a countertop display refrigerator or a refrigerated display showcase, where you can display cakes, desserts, salads, and sandwiches attractively, where they will catch the eye and boost impulse purchases.
A horizontal display refrigerator is an excellent way to showcase your chilled products. You can keep food and drinks at the correct temperature while promoting specials, sales items and more.
Look out for chilled cabinets designed with clear glass doors that keep your products at an optimal temperature while offering a crystal clear display with no obstructions. Naturally, you want customers to see your stock, so they can quickly select an item, retrieve it and make a purchase.
Countertop display refrigerators have smaller dimensions and lower capacity than standard commercial refrigerators or chillers. But they possess the advantage that the display is near and at eye level, so customers give your products more attention.
This design feature not only makes it easy for consumers to find what they are looking for, but it will also encourage impulse buys and additional items. Customers tend to buy things they see in front of them, from snacks and pastries to cool drinks. In addition, they will be encouraged to make complementary purchases – a salad to go with a sandwich or a cake to enjoy with coffee.
Cleaning and maintenance of a display refrigerator
UK and EU regulations require caterers and retailers to store perishable food safely. Foodstuffs must be held at the correct temperature during transport, processing, storage and display. Harmful bacteria can multiply quickly at temperatures over 7°C, so keeping food in cooler temperatures will prevent these pathogens from increasing.
The FSA (Food Standards Agency) Food Safety Regulations are explicitly concerned with preventing illnesses caused by food poisoning. These illnesses are caused mainly by bacterial contaminants, chemicals, and other physical hazards. Caterers and food retailers are responsible for ensuring that the food they supply will not harm their customers, so establishing a cleaning and maintenance schedule for your display refrigerator is essential.
To maintain hygiene and maximize performance, schedule cleaning and maintenance of your display showcase at least once a week and follow these steps
- Unplug the refrigerated display
- Remove all food and containers from shelves. If there are products you wish to keep, move them to a chiller or a refrigerator. Wash the shelves with a clean cloth and warm, soapy water.
- Throw away any perishable food products that are out of date or spoiled.
- Clean the interior of the display.
Never use harsh cleaning products such as wire wool or bleach to clean the interior of your display showcase. They may damage the surface and may also cause lingering chemical odors that can be absorbed by food. Use a few drops of mild detergent in warm water instead.
- Clean the glass doors and any metal parts
The glass doors may be stained with food or oily ingredients.
To remove dried-on food, use a mixture of water and vinegar or a glass sanitizer to clean the glass.
- Spray the glass cleaner on a clean microfiber or cotton cloth and wipe the area. Finish off with a clean, dry cloth. Clean metal parts with the same method, finishing off by drying them thoroughly with a cloth or paper towel.
Mold and germs can build up over time, so surfaces should be disinfected with a food-safe sanitizer before putting products back into the display refrigerator.
- Clean the vents, fans, and condenser
The condenser and coils of a commercial display refrigerator draw in dust from the environment, which can clog the air intake. As a result, your refrigerator will use more energy to maintain an ideal temperature. So, they should be cleaned weekly. Start by removing the protective grill from the top or bottom of the fridge. Next, brush the fan and coils to remove loose dust and lightly vacuum them. Finally, replace the clean protective grill.
- Clean the surroundings
Clean the top first, then clean around the refrigerator and then the countertop or floor underneath it. If the display refrigerator is against a wall, pull it away so that you can clean behind it.
- Defrost regularly
If your unit requires defrosting manually, ensure that you carry this out as soon as you notice any ice buildup.
- Check door seals
Inspect the door seals for damage and repair or replace them as necessary to stop cold air from escaping.
- Service regularly
Have your display refrigerator serviced annually by a qualified engineer.