Commercial serve over counters buying guide
Catering Appliance Superstore stock a very broad selection of refrigerated serve over counters, suitable for a full range of product types such as salads, sandwich fillings, baked goods, cakes, puddings, cold drinks, cooked meats and other delicatessen products, as well as butcher's and fishmonger's serve over counters specifically designed for raw meat and fish.
Choosing the right serve over counter for your catering operation depends on your requirements, of course. You will need to consider the following main factors
External dimensions and internal capacity
Your serve over counter must of course fit into the space you have available, but at the same time you need to maximise the amount of produce that the unit can keep fresh and on display - the whole point of display storage is to show off your best range of highest quality products.
Catering Appliance Superstore can provide display serveries from 1m to 4m in width, with an average depth of about 900mm but with slimline models available such as the Zoin FG150, or with extra deep models such as the Zoin Melody GG476 or Diamond Dakota DK30 if you want to maximise storage or get more worksurface space. Heights of most models are around the 1250mm mark, but there are some taller models over 1300mm with additional shelving.
The actual display area will often be listed in the product description itself or in any user guides, and larger units may not equate to more storage, so check and compare carefully.
Refrigeration and temperature range
Not all serve over counters are refrigerated, some are merely ventilated and assume the ambient temperature of the room they are situated in. Most, however, are intended for chilled storage and may have a temperature range of +4°C to +6°C where the unit is a general purpose chiller, or a lower range of +0°C to +2°C if the counter is intended specifically for cold display storage of raw meat and fish.
The layout of the counter is important, and some are better for certain types of products than others. Most models are relatively short, but extend forward with a single deep refrigerated well. These are great if you have customers who will come and stand in front of the counter, perhaps at a delicatessen or in a butcher's shop, as a good range of products can be arranged so that the customer is looking directly down onto them. On the other hand, serve over counters that are a little taller can accommodate a shelf on which extra products can be made visible, like the Blizzard Shad200. Taller again, and multiple shelves may be fitted, as in the case of the Zoin GG464. Tall multishelf serving counters are best when customers are seated or will only see the counter from a distance, as more products are raised to eye level and can be spaced out for easier identification.
Another element of layout to check for is whether the serve over counter actually has a built in countertop for you to perform any final prep or packing of the item before handing it over to the customer. This may seem a strange point to make, but a few serve over counters just have rear doors for access and are designed for fully prepared and packaged products that can simply be removed and handed over the counter unit.
Serve over counters come in a range of finishes and can have quite distinct appearances, and as these are intended as customer facing units it is important to choose one that fits with your decor and effectively communicates the product range you are trying to sell. Some products just do not look right displayed in certain kinds of refrigerated display.
For example, serve over counters with clean lines, white or grey lacquer fronts and shelving, or in stainless steel with white or grey mouldings and limited colours, are ideal for spacious, modern buildings and businesses like supermarkets or large canteens. However, for smaller, independent businesses, such as cake shops, patisseries or brasseries with more elaborate furnishings, a unit in creams or browns like the Zoin GG463, might look more appropriate. If you are willing to spend a little more for a really top quality finish, some models like the Diamond Dakota DK40 have granite worktops that look great and are also incredibly practical, allowing you to prep with knives and other implements on the servery surface itself.
Consideration should also be given to the glass - generally curved glass is considered more aesthetically pleasing, while flat glass displays are less expensive. The way the glass is mounted is important - are there any frames or supports in the middle of the unit, or does the serve over counter have a single front pane of glass for uninterrupted viewing?
Illumination is standard in many but not all models, so if you need to make the best of your product range in anything but the best lighting it is a good idea to check what is provided in this area.