Quick Guide to Heated Display Cabinets

A heated display cabinet is vital piece of commercial equipment because it ensures a safe, quality product. It also serves as a marketing tool that appeals to customers and plays an integral role in generating sales. While the role in any restaurant or food service operation is the same, these hot food display cabinets are definitely not a “one size fits all” piece of equipment.

Heated display cabinets come in different models and floor or countertop models that fit easily in almost any space and hold a variety of products (i.e. pizzas, chicken, etc.) This guide can help business owners choose the right model that fits the location and business needs.

How to Choose the Right Heated Display Cabinet

Heated Display Cabinet Size

Obviously, the dimensions of the heated display cabinet are an important part of choosing the right unit. Food service owners should decide whether they want a countertop heated display cabinet or a floor model that extends from floor to countertop or floor to ceiling. Some heated display cabinets come with casters so they can be moved when the layout changes. There should also be space around the cabinet for adequate ventilation.

Storage Space

A hot food display cabinet isn’t a good fit unless it can hold products efficiently. Heated display cabinets typically come with shelves, though there is some variation in the amount of shelving and configuration. Some heated display cabinets have slanted shelves, while others are flat. In addition to the position and amount of storage, operators should consider the position of the unit in the kitchen or lobby to ensure doors are assessable for loading and unloading.


Storing food is about more than just temperature, though temperature is a vital part of food safety. (Items in a heated display cabinet should be checked regularly to ensure that they are at a safe temperature. More about proper food safety practices here.) Hot food display cabinets should maintain an even heat that keeps food fresh and avoids compromising product quality. Some heated cabinets can even maintain temperatures that extend the safe storage period.

In addition to temperature, operators should also consider whether to purchase a heated display cabinet with humidified or non-humidified heat. Humidified display cabinets often have built-in trays for an even humidified heat that ensures the product is always top-quality.


In the case of heated display cabinets, form is as important as function. Because these cases are typically in front of customers, it’s important to choose a case that looks as good as the product in it. Many cabinets come with lighting that makes the product stand out and look more delicious. Contact a commercial equipment professional to choose the right heated display cabinet that checks off all the boxes. Once the cabinet is installed, businesses should make sure that the food is properly stored and the cabinet is kept clean to ensure a steady flow of sales.

Safe Product Storage Tips

Remember that hot food display cases should contain “hot” food that is ready and safe to heat. Restaurants and commercial food service operations should follow these guidelines for safe product storage tips to ensure that the product is delicious and safe to enjoy.

  • Food should be stored at 140 degrees or more to avoid dangerous bacteria growth.
  • Products held between 41 and 135 degrees (the “danger zone”) for more than 2 hours should be disposed of.
  • Employees should label food so to ensure regular temperature checking and product rotation.
  • Product that is not stored properly should be disposed of promptly.
  • If product is kept in reusable containers, the containers should be thoroughly washed and cleaned between uses.
  • Display cabinets should be cleaned and sanitized regularly, especially surfaces where food is kept or is touched frequently.
  • If flatware is needed for the product, provide flatware in packets to minimize disease transmission.

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