Heated merchandisers are suitable for front of house use in both full- and self-service applications.
Heated merchandisers hold hot food at safe temperatures for an extended period of time. These units generally fall into three main categories, including islands, in-line and countertop. The in-line and countertop units are set up for full-service and/or self-service access. Islands are self-service.
In terms of size, most units are 48, 60 or 72 inches wide and between 24 and 36 inches deep. Heated merchandisers typically feature between one and three shelves for food displays. The shelves can be slanted or straight.
The areas of the hot case that require frequent cleaning tend to feature stainless steel construction. Glass, tempered or otherwise, represents another common material for side walls and back doors that provides extensive visibility of the products in the unit holds.
Newer units break the shelf down into many smaller areas with separate heating elements and thermostats. This eliminates hot and cold spots, delivering consistent heating to each space. Recent changes in legislation are resulting in the phasing out of incandescent lighting, which has prompted advances in the way the cases are illuminated.
Foodservice operators typically select options for their merchandisers based on how the unit will relate to the facility's décor. Examples include base and bumper colors, the unit's shape and size, and the base case.
Some manufacturers offer accessories geared to enhance the unit's efficiency, such as shelves for scales or packaging; containers or rails to hold tongs, thermometers and other accessories; and built-in thermometers for measuring food temperature.