Convenience Store Equipment Checklist: How To Design A One-stop-shop Experience
There’s a reason they’re called convenience stores. Their business is built on the “grab-and-go” model, allowing customers to be in and out in just a few minutes. The last thing any customer needs is to be inconvenienced by disorganized shelves and poorly maintained equipment.
The key to steady convenience store sales is a practical shop layout. With the right equipment like accessible shelves, dispensers, and commercial refrigerators, customers can easily find what they’re looking for and will patronize your store more often.
Common Convenience Store Equipment
Whether at the corner of the street or inside a gas station, the most significant selling point of convenience stores is their catch-all nature. When customers walk into a store, they expect it to be well-organized, allowing them to find personal products, snacks, and beverages right away.
Every convenience store requires the same equipment to cater to the “grab-and-go” and impulse buy demand.
1. Ready to use, eat and drink
For dry goods and personal items, you need sturdy and spacious racks, while hot drinks and pre-packed snacks will require display cases, microwaves, coffee machines, and cutlery and condiment dispensers.
2. Frozen foods
For drinks and frozen treats — often the most popular grab-and-go items — you’ll need novelty freezers and commercial refrigerators with highly visible displays and safe, climate-controlled storage. Line your upright commercial refrigerators along the walls and add novelty freezers close to the checkout to increase the chances of impulse buys.
3. Store upkeep
Of course, you’ll need to take care of your store and ensure a seamless and convenient shopping experience — so stock up on cleaning supplies and tools for regular maintenance. Install a CCTV and security alarm to detect threats and prevent losses. Finally, facilitate customer transactions quickly with a complete point-of-sale system for cash and cashless payments.
Refrigeration Equipment for Convenience Stores
Commercial refrigerators come in various sizes and configurations, each designed for a specific purpose or merchandise and storage capacity. The right commercial refrigerators and coolers help maximize revenue through attractive product placement and easy grab-and-go access.
1. Walk-in cooler
This commercial refrigerator is a convenience store staple because of its storage, inventory management, and accessible display. Surplus stock can be easily stowed in the back, while clear glass panes and highly visible shelves push popular products to customers. This is cost-effective because supplies are refilled from the back, pushing older items to the front and ensuring they are sold before the sell-by date.
2. Reach-in refrigerators
Similar to walk-ins from a customer’s perspective, reach-in commercial refrigerators provide easy access to popular products. Their glass doors and bright displays allow customers to spot their favourite food and drink even from a distance and head over right away, which is helpful when they’re in a rush, as is often the case in convenience stores. These commercial refrigerators typically plug into the wall and come in one-, two-, and three-door models, making them a popular choice for merchandising beverages and even frozen or ready-to-eat foods.
3. Novelty freezers
There’s nothing that’s easier to grab-and-go than ice cream — and customers know exactly where to look. Novelty freezers, often of the horizontal chest variety, are typically associated with ice cream. And while a customer may not have intended to stop for a frozen treat in the first place, seeing a novelty freezer conveniently placed close to the entrance or right before checkout often results in an impulse buy, on top of what they initially came in for.
Novelty freezers need to be fitted with separators or dividers to keep ice cream perfectly frozen. These allow you to maximize limited space by displaying different flavours and competing brands in a single area.
4. Open-air display coolers
Sandwiches, soups, and other ready-to-eat foods need to be easily visible and accessible to the hungry customer in need of a quick meal. This type of novelty freezer preserves the freshness of these pre-cooked, vacuum-sealed items while providing easy customer access.
Keep in mind that while these display cases are set to chill ready-to-eat food through an air curtain, they are still partly exposed to humidity and changes in room temperature. Check on stocks routinely to ensure the food is still safe.
How to Buy Commercial Refrigerators for a Convenience Store
Check the Location of the Condenser
Where is the condenser or the compressor unit located? Both parts are responsible for the cooling mechanism that allows a novelty freezer or commercial refrigerator to maintain a cold, food-safe temperature.
Top-mounted condensers have higher storage capacity and attract less dirt, but also require higher ceilings to accommodate the mount and typically consume more energy. In contrast, bottom-mounted coolers run on lower power and may be easier to maintain; however, the condenser fan’s location attracts dust and requires frequent cleaning.
Choose the Optimal Display Size
While most novelty freezers are chest-style, reach-in glass door refrigerators stand upright, feature high product visibility to reduce unnecessary opening and closing of doors, and come in one-, two-, and three-door options for optimal shelving and storage capacity. Check your store’s floor space to make sure that you select the right fridge size and maintain a smooth, unobstructed flow from entrance to checkout.
Maintain Food Safety
There’s nothing more important in the food industry than food safety and quality taste. Storage and display solutions like novelty freezers and commercial refrigerators are designed precisely for this purpose.
Even the slightest temperature fluctuation or exposure to humidity can diminish the fresh, quality taste of the most refined foods, posing safety hazards to hundreds of customers. Select the right novelty freezers and commercial refrigerators that come with reliable temperature controls, such as automatic defrost systems and smart thermostats, to maintain optimal storage and lasting customer trust.
To learn more about the types of equipment you need to open a convenience store, call Ancaster Food Equipment at +1 855-675-1486, or contact us here.