Industry Insights

4 Golden Rules To Getting The Most Out Of Your Hot Food Merchandisers

By Jennifer Sgro-Stovall

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Creating hot food displays that turn product faster and generate lucrative impulse buys.

A study of U.S. supermarket buying habits found that 76% of shopping decisions are made by customers while in store. But every year busy customers spend less time in your store, down from 51 minutes in 1995 to only 38 minutes in 2012. What does this mean? Buying messages must be quickly delivered and easily absorbed by customers, and displays must be more impactful than ever before.

Eye-catching, strategic merchandising is key for any foodservice operation. And hot, fresh food is only as good as the impression it makes on paying customers. From the aroma of chicken just off the rotisserie to the mouth-watering sight of beautifully displayed hot sides – visibility and presentation are key. To attract customers, you must first appeal to the senses, rather than simply to customer need.

Home meal replacement was a $2.4-billion market in Canada in 2014, and the fastest growing segment in grocery retail. When done well, hot food merchandising can drive lucrative impulse buys, provide added convenience to customers, and keep food at its freshest and safest for as long as possible. Follow these 4 golden rules to create product-turning hot food displays and generate valuable impulse purchases:


First impressions always matter. To impact choice in-store, product should be visible to customers through eye-catching signage and visually appealing merchandising. Include pricing on your signage. Signs with prices are proven to be 2-3 times more effective than signs without.


Good placement moves product. Merchandise meal solutions at the front of store or in other high traffic areas make convenience shopping effortless for your customers.


Invest in hot food equipment that eliminates cold spots and fogging, and make sure it has good LED lighting to set off the food to its best advantage. Your hot food cabinets should hold finished products at safe temperatures for delicious, fresh food on demand. And a bit of theatre doesn’t hurt. Chicken turning on rotisseries delivers the sights and aromas of theatre cooking, attracting attention and sales.


Quality equipment delivers quality food. Keeping food fresher longer translates into less waste, higher profit and more repeat business. Make sure your hot food merchandisers keep food safe, integrating even heating and airflow to maintain constant temperatures.

Customers expect quality and convenience – give them both with well-placed and well chosen hot food merchandisers. Consider adding a TFI hot foods program to your business and enjoy 50-80% profit margins. Henny Penny® cabinets and merchandisers with patented THERMA-VEC® air flow technology help you waste less, earn more and keep customers coming back.

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