Here’s an interesting article talking about the importance of display fridges in supermarkets, and how they are great marketing tools: (Too bad they laft out the part about the beverage holders with company logos on them now being attached to shopping carts.)
If there is one thing that grocery stores, meat shops, bakeries and restaurants cannot do without (besides the cash register, perhaps), it’s a display fridge. This has become a necessity for businesses that sell food and beverages. It works like an ordinary refrigerator. It keeps the food fresh and in low temperature. The only difference is that the front is see-through glass instead of a thick metal door. You can clearly see the meat, pies, cakes or drinks on display.
The idea is to keep the goods in the line of sight of the buyers in order to subtly encourage them to check out what’s available, and then perhaps make a purchase. This is why, in fast food restaurants where you line up to pay for your food at the counter, a mini version of this fridge is displayed along the line. Customers with a sudden urge to take something cold can conveniently grab a bottle of soft drinks or a plate of dessert without leaving their place in the line. People are enticed to buy what they can see clearly, especially if it is presented in its best form.
There is nothing particularly ostentatious about these display refrigerators—it is rather very simple, just a case with a glass front. This draws the attention of the customers to the delicacies that are contained within. Because there is no other distracting and excessive material on display, the food being sold becomes the centerpiece and this entices customers to buy them. It is also very economical and power saving. Customers can see what is available without having to open the door numerous times. Frequently opening the refrigerator door brings in hotter air. The fridge would then have to keep up with the task of keeping the temperature low, using more energy and electricity in the process. When a customer finds something he or she likes, only then will they have to open the refrigerator and take out the purchase.
There are three basic designs, each of them appropriate for certain types of food. One takes the shape and structure of an ordinary household refrigerator, as mentioned earlier. This is often used to store and display bottles of water, juice packs, soft drinks, milk, and even iced candy pops. The second design is the one commonly found in bakeshops and the dessert counters of restaurants. It is low and wide. There are three or more shelf layers, with the bottom shelves wider than the one above and projecting outward. Because of the wide space, cakes can comfortably fit side by side without ruining the icing designs. Pies, plates of delicacies, sandwiches and cups of creamy dessert are kept deliciously cold. The last design is the one frequently used by ice cream vendors and meat sellers. The viewing glass is not on the front, but rather lying horizontally on the top of the large, waist-high freezer.
The market for these is still for commercial purposes, although a small number of households have started using them as well. If you want to put something new in your kitchen, you can be economical while at it and use these refrigerators.