Display Refrigeration Explained

An eye's line of sight to an upright bottle cooler

Achieving the perfect balance between chilling and display, display refrigeration not only holds your stock at recommended temperatures but also attractively presents what’s on offer, acting as a shop window to advertise contents. A well laid out visual arrangement is one of your biggest selling tools after all people buy with their eyes, so make sure your display refrigeration shows off your products in the best possible light.

What Is Display Refrigeration?

Display refrigeration is used as an umbrella term to encompass many types of equipment. Suitable for any consumable, whether food or drink, the display refrigeration moniker covers a number of designs, uses and temperatures including fridge and freezer ranges.

Commercial display refrigeration can be easily recognised as any cold display cabinet or chilled equipment that showcases its contents whether via a glass door, glass lid or glass hygiene guard. Although most commonly seen in customer-facing situations, it can also be used for other purposes.

Take a look at our Complete Display Refrigeration Buying Guide to find out more and discover a host of information and top tips to help you make the right buying choice.

What Equipment is Classed as Display Refrigeration?

Follow these quick links to discover the full range of display refrigeration you can expect to find:

Display Fridges

Including compact, under-counter models designed to sit conveniently beneath existing counters and tall, upright cabinets with single, double or triple door options, display fridges are a versatile chilled display solution.

Suitable for self-service in shops, cafes and canteens or assisted/staff serve situations where the fridge is located behind the counter, finding the right glass front chiller for your requirements is easy.

Display Freezers

The perfect partner to the display fridge, display freezers perform exactly the same role except at sub-zero temperatures. Again, available for under counter positioning or as an upright display fridge with single, double or triple doors, the same versatility applies to the display freezer range.

This section also offers a large capacity display alternative perfect for larger shops and supermarkets. Wall site freezers feature a reach-in freezer chest with either a glass door fridge cabinet or glass door freezer cabinet top unit. This unique piece of kit combines multiple display methods and designs to produce enhanced versatility.

Bottle Coolers

The ultimate display fridges for your bar, commercial bottle coolers are essential to any set-up. These glass door display cabinets are available as under counter units with single, double and triple doors or upright display fridges with single or double door options, making these bottle display fridges suitable for any size and style of business.

Typically positioned behind the bar, customers can clearly see the range of beverages available and all while being held at the perfect serving temperature.

Find out more about in our Comprehensive Buying Guide to Bottle Coolers.

Wine Coolers

Another staple piece of bar equipment, wine display fridges promise that your wines are always stored and displayed in premium conditions. With under counter displays and tall, upright cabinets on offer, these wine chillers accommodate reds or whites, some models delivering variable temperature or dual temperature options for enhanced versatility.


Multidecks, also known as open front chillers, are great ‘grab and go’ fridges for shops, supermarkets and cafes etc. These multi-tier chilled displays encourage self-service with a layout that not only attractively showcases stock whilst maintaining optimum temperatures but also makes sure that products easily accessible.

The selection available is vast and includes low height models and slimline units for businesses looking for a smaller footprint, products for specific uses such as general-purpose or fresh meat, remote or integral refrigeration systems, key features including locks or glass doors and also equipment with a stainless steel finish. The choice of self serve display fridges is huge guaranteeing that every business finds exactly what they’re looking for.

Read more about buying multidecks in our Multideck Buying Guide.

Serve Over Counters

A great focal point for chilled displays in shops, delis, supermarkets, butchers, fishmongers and cafes, serve over counters combine the presentation and chilling of products in a convenient counter layout. Delivering the opportunity to create an attractive showcase for your fresh foods, customers can clearly see what’s on offer, everything clearly laid out and ready to be served.

These refrigerated displays are available in standard and slimline footprints and can be used for general-purpose dishes such as pastas, salads and pizzas to specialist items such as fish and fresh meat. The ultimate assisted/staff serve food display fridge, serve over counters encourage interaction between staff and the customer for that personal one-on-one touch.

Find out more about what areas to look for with our Serve Over Buying Guide.

Ice Cream Display Refrigeration

No-one can resist a frozen treat and what better way to boost sales than make sure your favourite flavours are clearly displayed. Depending on the style of service you’re looking for, there are a number of options when it comes to ice cream displays.

Selling tubs of ice cream and need somewhere to suitably freeze your goods? Ice cream display freezers are perfect, with a chest freezer design complete with glass lid to give clear visibility of contents.

Serving individual cones? Soft scoop ice cream displays are ideal. Resembling a serve over format, all of those delicious ice creams are attractively presented and ready to scoop.   

Read our Definitive Ice Cream Refrigeration Buying Guide and find out the key areas you should consider before making a purchase.

Countertop Refrigeration

Placing items in direct eye line of customers, right at the point of sale, countertop display refrigeration is a great way to maximise impulse sales. Whether you’re looking for general purpose topping units with glass guard, countertop cake displays, sushi cases, countertop merchandisers, ice cream displays or countertop refrigerated display cabinets in fridge or freezer format there’s plenty of choices available.

Island Freezers

In situations where a large capacity frozen display is critical there’s nothing better suited than an island freezer. Following the classic chest freezer layout, the glass lid holds in sub-zero temperatures without obstructing visibility. These self-serve reach-in freezers can be laid out in a configuration that best suits your demands, whether you’re looking for a single piece of equipment or a pod complete with head case units.

Glass Display Prep Counter

Combining a food preparation area with a display of the fresh ingredients on the menu, glass display prep counters are great for sandwich shops and pasta bars etc. Allowing customers to choose their toppings or fillings with ease, staff can freshly prepare individual orders right in front of the customers' eyes. Ingredients are protected by a glass hygiene guard to ensure maximum freshness when on show.

Chocolate/Cake Displays

Take full advantage of boosting purchases through a tempting presentation of delicious cakes, chocolates and pastries. Sometimes referred to as patisserie displays, these refrigerated display cabinets come in many guises. Following a multideck format for self-service, you’ll find cake display cabinets and chocolate display cabinets. For an assisted/staff service approach, serve over cake displays are the perfect solution however if you’re searching for something that adds additional flair to your patisserie section, rotating cake displays are a great choice. All variations deliver a chilled display that can guarantee optimum conditions for the total freshness of your freshly baked treats.

Read more about making the right buying choice with our Chocolate and Cake Display Buying Guide.

Meat Curing/Cheese Ageing Display Cabinets

Many artisan establishments are now using these cabinets to advertise their specialist produce. Positioned behind counters to showcase the ageing and curing techniques that produce the exquisite results that a customer can expect, meat curing and cheese ageing cabinets are great promotional yet functional tools.  

Display Refrigeration Behind the Scenes – Not Just for Show

Although most commonly associated with customer-facing situations, display refrigeration isn’t only a promotional unit designed to attract customers. Also great in other scenarios where a sale isn’t necessarily the desirable outcome, display refrigeration can work just as well for convenience purposes.

Equipment such as hotel mini bar fridges and glass door refrigeration for commercial kitchens are perfect to offer a quick glimpse at the contents. Hotel mini bar fridges are designed with silent operation so as not to disturb guests while kitchen refrigeration is specifically tailored for positioning in the higher ambient temperatures associated with a working kitchen. Glass door kitchen display refrigeration allows staff to quickly locate exactly what they need during busy services for increased efficiency, cutting down the time spent searching through stock.

Display Refrigeration Layout & Organisation

The core purpose of commercial display refrigeration is that the contents are on show and clearly visible. This means that the contents must be organised and ordered at all times to create a visually enticing shop window. While the majority of equipment will typically present products in a tiered layout using shelves, island freezers, ice cream displays and serve overs will use baskets or GN pans.

Display refrigeration plays a massive part in every business whether as a customer-facing promotional tool or for increased efficiency behind the scenes. Finding the right design and layout for your business is easy with so much choice available. Get in touch to discuss your requirements and make sure you make the right equipment choices.