Starting a Grab n Go Menu

Adding grab-and-go cases might seem overwhelming at first, but with a little background information, hitching on to the latest trend in foodservice can be seamless. We have the tips to make the process as simple as possible.


Consumers have grown accustomed to convenience and help themselves whenever and wherever they can, from self-serve checkout lines to grab-and-go cases in foodservice and retail stores. Take advantage of the trend by merchandising a mix of products beyond your normal menu, and offer customers a convenient way to help themselves.

Deciding Between a Case that Opens and a Case that Stays Closed

The first decision to make is whether to choose an open or closed refrigerated display case.

Advantages of a closed case:

  • Greater assurance that products will be held at the proper temperature.
  • Reduced energy consumption compared to open cases

Advantages of an open case:

  • Products are more visually appealing
  • Sales from open cases are typically 50% higher – and in some cases – as much as four times more
  • Customers can take the products they want quickly and easily
  • Lines are limited – more than one customer can take an item at the same time

Advantages of a hybrid:

  • Vertical grab-n-go display cases with a door provide versatility
  • Customers can open the case and grab products for themselves
  • The work as both open grab-n-go cases as well as fully closed displays like deli cases

Deciding on a Design

A display case design should reinforce the ambiance of the operation. Depending on the look and feel the operator wants to create, there are a variety of display case options ranging from classic, curved displays (see the Italiana) or clean and linear like the new Atlantic model.

Proper design should also be considered inside the case, as well. For example, the importance of LED lighting in a foodservice display case cannot be overstated as a way to increase overall visibility of the product. Just as important is how you set up your foodservice display.

Deciding on a Menu

When you develop your grab-n-go menu, consider a full range of products to attract a wider range of customers. Things to consider for a grab-n-go menu are packaged salads, pre-made sandwiches, yogurt parfaits, specialty drinks like iced teas and cold pressed juices, and sodas.

The 5, 10, 15 Rule

Location is critical to performance. In order to get the best performance possible, follow these guidelines:

  • Locate cases at least 5 feet away from HVAC vents
  • Make sure cases are at least 10 feet away from HVAC vents
  • Locate open display cases at least 15 feet from exterior doors to prevents drafts from interfering with the air-screen and letting warm air into the case

Standards and Performance

The Department of Energy (DOE) has mandated that all refrigeration, including open, air-screen display cases, must meet Type II NSF 7 standards. The ORION by Clabo refrigerated display cases currently meet these standards.

Choosing the Case That’s Right for You

If a contemporary, fully open design is something your looking for, the new Atlantic model might be the case for you. Consider these additional features:

  • LED lighting
  • Digital diagnostic control system with programmable defrosting
  • Self-contained, air-cooled condensing unit
  • Three shelves
  • Working temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit to 41 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 200 different color options for the front and side panels
  • Optional remote condensing units and casters

Learn more about the best ways to display your food products. Read our Guide to Increasing Sales with a Refrigerated Display Case.

Guide to Increasing Sales with a Refrigerated Display Case CTA

*** The article above is a summary of an original from Michael Sherer that appeared in FER Magazine in print in May 2016 and on