Keeping it Cool: Choosing the Ideal Display Refrigerator for Your Commercial Kitchen or Restaurant

Keeping it Cool: Choosing the Ideal Display Refrigerator for Your Commercial Kitchen or Restaurant
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Showcasing your array of creations is an integral part of many food businesses. Whether you are a bakery with colorful confections, a deli offering a wide selection of cheeses and meats, or simply looking to display beverages to accompany tasty meals in your restaurant, a display refrigerator is a must. These appliances are designed to show off various food and drinks, making your offerings more visually appealing to customers.

Purchasing a display refrigerator comes with a multitude of details to review. You might focus on the space you need before shopping brands or consider the energy efficiency coupled with overall accessibility and convenience. In this post, we provide you with a comprehensive list of things to look for, including tips on choosing the right option for your needs.

Types of Display Refrigerators

Display refrigerators are typically available in three primary categories:

  1. One-door options with swing self-closing doors. The cubic square footage depends on the brand, but most often, these are suitable for displaying various items in a convenient and accessible way for your customers.
  2. Two-door options, which feature swing or sliding doors. With more space, these glass-door refrigerators enhance product visibility and come with numerous adjustable shelves.
  3. Three-door options maximize your ability to provide your customers with numerous options. Highlight a different specialty behind each door, or fill it with similar products to keep up with customer demand.

Size and Capacity

The first thing to consider is the size of the display refrigerator. Assess the available space in your kitchen or restaurant to ensure the chosen refrigerator fits comfortably without causing obstructions. Take into account the size of your business, your inventory needs, and the number of customers you serve daily.

Temperature Control and Consistency 

Maintaining the appropriate temperature is critical for keeping your food and beverages fresh. Although most commercial refrigerators are made of metal or plastic for optimal insulation, display refrigerators with glass fronts may require more effort to maintain consistent temperatures since this material is less insulated. Look for models with adjustable temperature settings and digital temperature displays for easy monitoring.

  • For example, The Government of Ontario Ministry of Health states cold foods must be kept at at 4°C (40°F) or colder in the fridge and recommends placing a thermometer inside the refrigerator for optimal temperature checking.

Energy Efficiency

Display refrigerators can consume a lot of energy, so it's important to choose an energy-efficient model to minimize energy costs. Opt for refrigerators that are Energy Star certified or have an energy-efficient compressor. These options are designed to handle keeping everything inside cold without eating into operating costs.

Noise Level

A noisy refrigerator can distract staff and customers and negatively affect the ambiance of your establishment. While it may not be possible to verify the noise level before purchasing, higher-quality appliances generally produce less noise. The consistency of the appliance's temperature can also impact its noise level.

Compressor Type

The compressor is the part of the refrigerator that produces the most noise. There are two types of compressors: the traditional piston compressor and the newer, more advanced, and quieter rotary compressor. Rotary compressors are generally quieter than piston compressors and are becoming more common in modern display refrigerators.


The location of the refrigerator can also impact its noise level. If possible, choose a location away from areas where customers and staff congregate or in a separate room or closet. This can help reduce the impact of the noise on the overall ambiance of the space.

Design and Aesthetic

There are several types of display refrigerators to choose from, including:

Accessibility and Convenience 

When you purchase a display refrigerator, customers will likely use it more than your staff. As a result, it’s essential to ensure it has proper accessibility and convenience features to suit its purpose. Consider:

  • Easy-to-open doors that do not stick or require additional hardware to open.
  • Adjustable shelf heights to accommodate various food items within the display refrigerator.
  • Self-closing door mechanisms to prevent doors from remaining open for extended periods, ensuring food remains fresh and cool. Sliding and swing doors are optimal choices for these mechanisms.

Display Lighting

Display lighting is an important consideration when choosing a display refrigerator for your commercial kitchen or restaurant.  High-quality lighting can enhance the appearance of your products, attract customers, and make your display more appealing.

Here are some things to consider when it comes to display lighting:

ere are some things to consider when it comes to display lighting:

  1. LED lighting: LEDs are energy-efficient, long-lasting, and produce bright, consistent lighting. They also generate less heat than traditional bulbs, which can help keep your products cool.
  2. Colour temperature: The colour temperature of the lighting can impact the appearance of your products. Generally, cooler temperature lights render white and lighter-coloured products appear brighter and crisper, while warmer temperature lights can make food look more inviting and appetizing.
  3. Placement: Lights should be strategically placed to illuminate all display areas and avoid creating shadows or dark spots, such as under shelves, behind signage, and on the sides of the refrigerator.
  4. Maintenance: It's important to choose a display refrigerator with lighting that is easy to maintain. Opt for models with easily replaceable bulbs or LED strips, and consider the lifespan of the lighting to minimize the need for replacements.

Cost and Value

Display refrigerators can range in price depending on the size, brand, and overall capacity. While you might be considering a single-door unit to accommodate a few items, a multiple-door display refrigerator may make more sense to purchase based on the value added to your establishment. It’s best to determine a budget before you begin your search to ensure you find an appliance that meets your needs without exceeding your financial constraints.

  • Most products we carry range from $1,500 to $3,500 for mid-range sizes and features with one and two-door options. Higher-end and more sophisticated glass-door refrigerators, incorporating advanced technology and up to three doors, can be $6,000 and above.

Brand Reputation

When selecting a glass-door refrigerator for your business, durability is critical. At Zanduco, we carry several trusted brands that are known for their commitment to excellence. Depending on your needs and preferences, Atosa, True Refrigeration, Kool-It, HABCO, Imbera, and our Zanduco brand are all great choices. We recommend reviewing the above criteria before deciding on a specific brand to ensure your display refrigerator is accurately suited to your establishment.

If you have any questions about the above products or need expert advice in choosing your next glass-door refrigerator, our team is here to help! Contact us today.


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