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Display cases do more than hold food—they can be effective tools for conveying your concept.

Restaurants are ramping up takeout and retail square footage in a move to expand their customer base, a trend that calls for leading-edge merchandising equipment. Well-designed display cases can improve operational efficiencies, create competitive differentiation and increase sales.

When Sara Weeks Dima, co-owner of R&D Foods in Brooklyn, N.Y., evaluated potential displays for her new eatery, she sought to combine “tried and true” classic fixtures, such as built-in shelving and glass- front cases, with the unique style of hanging shelves and repurposed antiques.

“We want to put our products in front of the customer, and we want the customer to feel comfortable, to stay awhile and linger and get to know our staff, our products and our space,” Weeks Dima says. “That’s why we’ve mixed new and old, innovative and old-fashioned, to appeal to the senses and sensibilities of each customer, no matter their personal preference.”

Strategic design

As part of Peter Piper Pizza’s new generation of restaurants, clean, vibrant and simple communication is the objective of the display cases. The equipment is in sync with the reconcepting of the 135-unit Phoenix-based chain.

“There are two fundamental messages that are communicated by our new display cases, says Charles Bruce, president and CEO of Peter Piper. “First, is parent-friendly, and second, is health and freshness.”

Peter Piper uses two types of display units with branded header cards and shelf talkers. One type promotes bottled beverages, especially adult offerings such as beer and wine, which are positioned in an adult’s line of site behind the counter. The other case is typically in-line with the counter, and is used to promote the chain’s new hand-chopped grab-and-go salads, along with organic milks and juices for kids.

At the three-unit My Burger fast- casual concept in Minneapolis, Vice President Paul Abdo chose display equipment that blended into the background so it wouldn’t take away from the industrial decor or general vibe. The modern burger joint includes a vibrant color palette, warm wood tones, riveted industrial concrete and original illustrations. The equipment also had to be relatively maintenance free, offering a “set it up and forget it mentality,” says Abdo.

“We needed everything to look like it was made as part of the facade or be almost invisible, and the cases  needed to be a ‘forever thing.’ We weren’t interested in buying a cheap version or something that would break easily,” Abdo says. “A display case has to blend in or disappear so your goods are noticed. If the display case can’t achieve that, don’t buy it.”

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