An attractive display is vital for any shop or supermarket looking to increase sales. Multidecks offer a great way to present a wide range of products in perfectly chilled conditions. There are a number of options to consider before investing in a multideck display. Considering all aspects and deciding which options are best suited to your business style and premises before spending any money guarantees that you will make the perfect choice the first time.
Table of Contents
What is a Multideck?
What are Multidecks Used For?
Choose your Multideck Type
Powering your Display
Situation and Placement
How Many Shelves?
Temperature and Contents
Build Quality, Manufacture and Price
Features of your Multideck Fridge
Cleaning, Servicing and Maintenance
Choose your Warranty
When Will My Multideck Be Delivered?
The title 'multidecks' is a rather broad term which encompasses any multi-tiered display refrigeration used for self service purposes. Typically open fronted (however not exclusively) multidecks (sometimes referred to as open fronted chillers) are the most popular form of display cabinet for the majority of shops. Featuring multiple shelves the tiered display means that produce is clearly visible, well presented and housed in optimum conditions. Creating an attractive display that appeals to customers, all available products are attractively presented to encourage increased sales and a carefree shopping experience.
Mainly found in shops and supermarkets however equally at home in any business that wants to maximise presentation of cold goods, these multi-level fridge displays are ideal for encouraging impulse 'grab and go' purchases. Configurations are available to hold fruit and vegetables, dairy products, fresh meats and general purpose goods meaning that this versatile equipment can be tailored to meet all display demands.
Defining Characteristic: The condensing unit, often referred to as the motor, is mounted on an external wall or floor. This unit is then connected to the display case by refrigerant pipes.
Advantages of remote units
- Heat emissions are removed from the premises and expelled outside, maintaining an even ambient temperature within the shop.
- The noise generated by the equipment isn’t audible within the premises.
- Provided that installation is carried out correctly, remote units have lower overall energy consumption.
- When serviced and maintained regularly these multidecks generally have increased longevity.
- The majority of remote chillers have a larger display area with only a few exceptions.
Integral or Plug in
Defining Characteristic: All components are housed within the equipment with no external elements other than the electrical supply. The condensing unit/motor is typically located underneath the base shelf.
Advantages of plug in integral units
- Plug in or integral pieces of equipment are less expensive to buy keeping initial costs low.
- As running noises are within the premises there is little risk of complaints from neighbours.
- No planning permission is required for integral displays, a consent that is sometimes necessary for remote alternatives.
- In the majority of cases, plug in models are generally reliable when serviced and maintained adequately.
Read more about remote versus integral refrigeration here.
The size of the cold multilevel display you choose is very important, after all you need something that will fit into the space available without obstructing or overcrowding walkways. There are slim line options available, denoted by a depth less than 700mm, ideal for businesses that are limited by space. Low height displays can also be purchased typically measuring less than 1500mm high.
For larger premises, standard sizes may not be big enough to meet demand. In these cases some models can be multiplexed, meaning that multiple models are fitted together to create a long run of equipment. Where multiplexing is the answer, you will need to consider power requirements.
A direct reflection of size is capacity. Obviously the larger the dimensions the more area will be available for stocking products. Capacity will also be dependent on the number and configuration of shelves that each unit holds.
Top Tip: Multidecks can be large pieces of equipment so always measure access points to the building including doorways, corridors, any tight corners and any other potential hazards that could be encountered when actually getting equipment into the building and into position. Once an order has been processed and delivered, a restocking charge will be applicable should you need to return it as it doesn't fit. Visit our Delivery and Returns page for more information.
Some form of power supply will be required, the type often dependent on the amount of power the equipment needs to operate.
Single Phase, 'plug in'
Smaller models classed as 'plug in' will carry a supply of 220V-240V and will use single phase connection consisting of a standard 3 pin plug that all premises are set up for. While this may be the most convenient power method, it only works up to 13 Amps, meaning that it's unsuitable for larger equipment.
Single Phase, hardwired
Models with higher power requirements will often use a single phase hardwired connection. This involves power being wired directly into a fused spur, something that requires a qualified electrician. This will deliver power greater than 13A whilst still carrying a 230V-240V supply.
3 Phase, hardwired
The largest units may need a 3 phase hardwired connection typically carrying a 415V supply. 3 phase uses three separate electrical supplies (or phases) implemented by a single connection, each supply peaking sequentially for continuous power. Each phase carries it's own number of amps. Not all premises are set up for 3 phase power and it can be expensive to install so always check out the situation before placing an order.
Multiplexed models such as the Alpine Oslo range will often use a remote system. Multiple integral units placed together will kick out a lot of heat and noise on the shop floor making an uncomfortable working and shopping environment, remote refrigeration however eliminates these issues.
Single phase plug in models are pretty straight forward and will rarely require any expert help. Single and three phase hardwired connections, as well as remote systems will need a qualified engineer's input. You may need to arrange for this yourself however specialist installation is, in some cases, offered by certain manufacturer's as an additional service, being subject to an extra charge. Installation is included in the purchase price with select models such as the Alpine remote chillers and freezers.
Always check requirements and options before making a purchase. If you're unsure about what is included and what isn't, get in touch with one of our team.
Top Tip: Open fronted chillers use an air curtain to help contain cold air within the display. Positioning in draughts or in direct line of air conditioning can disrupt the air curtain decreasing performance and efficiency.
The potential placement of a commercial multideck will depend on the type of equipment you are working with.
Remote models will grant a certain freedom with placement as it isn't necessary to factor in ambient working temperatures or airflow for example.
The position in which you place an integral or plug in open front display fridge is vital. Without adequate airflow and ventilation around the equipment and vents especially, technical difficulties and breakdowns will be a major concern. Lack of air circulation will impede the function of the condenser and put unnecessary strain on the compressor resulting in increased running costs and ultimate failure of equipment.
Top Tip: A plug in unit will kick out heat emissions into the shop, raising the ambient temperature especially in smaller areas. Integral units are designed for use in standard ambient temperatures of approx. 25°C, not for positioning in hot kitchens or direct sun light. Positioning in high temperatures will affect performance, efficiency and longevity of the equipment.
Always situate on a level floor - this can facilitate effective draining of condensate water and prevent any troublesome puddles from forming.
Refrigerated multidecks will have a varying number of shelves and so it is always recommended to check specifications to ensure that a product will meet all of your storage needs. For maximum storage area opt for a remote ‘low front’ display unit such as the Alpine York range. This option will give you at least one extra shelf.
Make sure that shelves are strengthened adequately to eliminate the possibility of bowing under weight.
Shelves may be either flat or angled; the angled option typically being for fruit and vegetables. Some models will have adjustable shelves for additional versatility, allowing you to personalise your display and tailor layout to the specific products on offer, fully utilising all available space. Fruit and vegetable multidecks will often use baskets to increase display potential.
The temperature range you need will be dictated by the products you wish to display. Generally temperature ranges will fall anywhere between 0˚C to 10˚C providing perfect conditions for the majority of refrigerated produce such as cooked meats, dairy, soft drinks, sandwiches and fruit and vegetables. If you are looking to feature a fresh meat tiered display, you will require a lower temperature range to maintain food safety, typically in the region of 0°C - 2°C. The Frilixa MaraoIIMeat is a popular choice for those looking to display fresh meats.
The way in which a display is chilled can have an effect on the products stored. There are two types of chilling system; static and fan assisted.
Static cooling features a plate located at the rear of the case which chills the air around it and therefore the stock nearby. When the desired temperature has been reached the unit will shut off automatically. Once the air has warmed through to a specific degree, the compressor will switch on and chill the air once again. This system relies on the natural circulation of cold air.
Fan Assisted Cooling
Fan assisted systems, as the name suggests features a fan which constantly circulates chilled air around the display creating an even and consistent environment. These models hold temperature more effectively, can reduce running costs and prevent any hot spots.
Top Tip: Static cooling methods tend not to dry out foods as quickly, a problem which can occur when using fan assisted alternatives. All sealed foods will remain in good condition, while open foods will not hold their condition for as long.
The build quality of a piece will often be determined by the price, the manufacturer and the features. Typically all products can be categorised into three approximate categories; entry level, mid-range and flagship. Generally the more expensive the chilled display, the better the build quality, after all ‘you get what you pay for’. You will also notice that the higher investment pieces will have more desirable features.
If you have a strict budget but want the best, Foster provide a 12 month 0% Interest-Free Credit allowing you to spread the cost into more manageable repayments. Commercial leasing options are also available to help your business to realise its full potential.
Mid to top range products will benefit from enhanced longevity, from robust manufacture and increased efficiency due to more advanced technology being used and so while the upfront cost may be higher you will reap the rewards and make savings in the future.
There are numerous features which are advantageous when choosing an open-fronted fridge display.
- Removable bottom plates can provide easier and more thorough cleaning ensuring that hygiene doesn’t have to be hard work.
- Auto defrost is another feature which will prove useful minimising the amount of elbow grease required to maintain equipment. Using electric elements to gently heat the evaporator, any ice build-up is melted, the water evaporates. Off cycle defrost functions are also available that remove any ice build-up from the evaporator by temporarily pausing the refrigeration cycle. The regularity of both automatic and off cycle defrost will be determined by a factory set timer.
- Look for glass or solid sides panels. Your choice will often be down to personal preference and the degree of visibility you are hoping to achieve for your display. Glass side panels can increase potential presentation when your multideck is isolated, however, are obsolete if the unit is adjacent to other equipment.
- Stainless steel multideck finishes are available when existing equipment when standard white or other colour options such as those available with the Alpine York and Oslo ranges, don't match to match existing equipment or don't compliment the style and decor of the premises.
- Lighting is a great way to illuminate contents and present stock in the most attractive manner. The majority of multidecks will have some type of interior light.
- Multidecks can be large, heavy, cumbersome pieces of equipment. Castors are a great way to ensure easy movement and positioning of equipment whether during initial situation or during routine cleaning, service and maintenance.
- Ticket strips are ideal for keeping customers fully informed with prices, information and any deals that are to be had.
- When shelves can be tilted, shelf risers are perfect for stopping produce from falling off onto the shop floor.
- Night blinds are soft curtains that can be drawn over the open front display during out of hours periods. Although not a standard feature they are a great way to increase energy efficiency.
- If you want added security, lockable multidecks are available, comprising of an open fridge with solid shutters and locks.
- If you prefer the efficiency of a closed fridge but like the idea of an open shelved display, glass door multidecks can be the perfect compromise. A solid version of night blinds, doors increase efficiency without detracting from the overall visibility of the contents. Although an optional feature of chilled displays, they are included as standard with remote freezers due to obvious performance and efficiency reasons. Doors on any freezer display, will be double glazed to help contain cold temperatures. Choose across the fridge and freezer range, from a single door such as the Foster FMSLIM 700NG up to a massive seven doors as found in the multiplexed Alpine Oslo range.
Top Tip: While some manufacturers include certain elements as standard, you may have to pay extra with other brands. Always check what you are receiving and what will come at an additional cost.
All displays, both integral and remote will require servicing and maintenance to ensure that all vents remain clear and clean regardless of where they are situated.
Cleaning can be carried out in-house and should be conducted on a regular basis. It's easy to do and will not only create a safe, hygienic environment for food and drink to be displayed but can also help to extend the life of equipment. Simply empty contents and wipe the interior and exterior including shelves, with a soft cloth and mild soapy water. Always check the condenser and vents of integral units to make sure they remain free of debris and dust that may be pulled in from the shop floor - give them a quick wipe or even go over with a vacuum.
Servicing and maintenance carried out by a qualified engineer is essential to guarantee ongoing performance, efficiency and ultimately extend longevity of equipment. Servicing is recommended to be carried out at least once a year.
Choose your Warranty
Always check the warranty that is supplied as standard as it will differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. While some units will have a 24 month parts only warranty, others will come with a full 24 or 36 month parts and labour cover. Where a parts only warranty is supplied, there will often be the option to purchase additional labour to complete the level of cover.
It is advised to always secure as full a warranty cover if possible, giving security that should any problems arise, you will get the support you need. To read more about commercial warranties and what elements are covered, take a look at our handy Understanding Commercial Warranties page.
Expected delivery will rely heavily on the brand you have chosen, the size of the equipment, any optional extras or additional features and where you are in the country. While smaller models are usually available in a 2-3 or 3-5 working day time frame, some even with a next working day delivery option, the larger units are generally made to order which could come with a delivery lead time of up to 8 weeks.
When you are aiming to spend money wisely it is important to make an informed decision to guarantee that finances aren’t wasted. If you have looked through each feature and specification and are still unsure, ask the advice of a friend in the business or an impartial third party such as the FFD team who are trained to assess individual needs and tailor choices accordingly.