Heated Display Merchandisers

Heated display merchandisers keep food accessible and hot prior to serving.


Heated Display Merchandisers: An Overview

Heated merchandisers hold hot food at safe temperatures between 140 degrees F and 160 degrees F. Operators can use these units in the back or front of house to keep food accessible and hot prior to serving. Self-serve units help create impulse sales opportunities in grab-and-go applications.

slice of pizzaThese units can hold and display a variety of menu items, from pizza and soup to fried and baked goods. The type of product and holding time dictates the style of heated display merchandiser suited for the application. Operators across a variety of segments use this equipment, including on-site cafeterias, food courts and retail outlets. Hot merchandisers are common in hospitals, schools, corporate dining operations, correctional facilities, sports and entertainment venues, and retail stores.

These units generally fall into three main categories: island, in-line and countertop. The in-line and countertop units are set up for full-service and/or self-service access. Islands are for self-service. The snack merchandiser is geared for front-of-the-counter offerings. Euro-style merchandisers are generally used for entrees and sides, such as chicken and fried products.

Heated display merchandisers are generally constructed of stainless steel and available in sizes from 10 to 36 inches wide, with some units more than 90 inches long. Shelving ranges from one to five tiers, depending on the model, and can be either horizontal (for products like boxed pizza) or slanted, which positions the product forward for better viewing.

These units offer various heating methods, depending on the model. Some provide top and bottom heat, while others utilize conductive heat on the bottom. Operators can choose between merchandisers with a Calrod or heat strip on top and a heat blanket, convected air or infrared heat on the bottom.

Models with heated shelves range in size from 18 to 72 inches. These units can heat up to 220 degrees F across the surface for uniform holding.

Operators use enclosed humidified merchandisers with doors with open or unpackaged product as these units help maintain the food’s natural moisture. These units can double the hold time to between 1½ and 2 hours compared with non-humidified merchandisers.

Open models are generally non-humidified, have shorter holding times and are commonly used with packaged product. This type is often utilized in operations offering pizza by the slice.

Countertop versions may include a water reservoir that helps keep product moist and fresh. Grab-and-go-type heated merchandisers are typically narrow to fit in tighter spaces. These models usually include interior lighting, heated angled shelves and interchangeable graphics.

Along with size and configuration, aesthetics come into play with heated display merchandisers. Manufacturers offer various designs, including simple utilitarian models that include a shelf, decorated bull nose displays, curved lines and Euro-style elliptical styles. In addition to the more industrial stainless-steel and aluminum finishes, various color powder coatings are available to match different decors or themes.

Some manufacturers offer accessories geared to enhance the unit’s efficiency, such as shelves for scales or packaging as well as containers or rails to hold tongs, thermometers and other accessories.


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