Ice Cream Display Buying Guide

Ice Cream Display Buying Guide

Ice cream scooping displays can be a great addition to shops, cafes and restaurants. Selling ice cream can generate excellent profit margins and increase footfall.  Your budget, requirements and the type of ice cream (or gelato) you wish to sell can all influence the type of unit you purchase. If you are looking to start selling ice cream, this helpful guide will point you in the direction of the right ice cream scooping display to fit your needs.


Budget scoop ice cream displays are essentially chest display freezers which have been converted to be suitable for ice cream scooping. You can get everything from a 4 pan unit (IC200SC+Canopy)  up to the massive AHT Boston 210 with 22 napoli tubs on display with a huge choice in-between.

They can all achieve a temperature of between –14°C and -18°C  which is essential to make ice cream easy to scoop. They have what is called a skin evaporator (the part of the refrigeration system that gets cold) – the refrigeration system is built into the wall of the freezer and is a simple, reliable yet very effective way of keeping product frozen. Also, as they are based on chest freezers, they maximise space, so you find you can display many tubs for a relatively small unit. These units are excellent where budgets are limited.

Disadvantages can be that you don’t tend to get a rear serving shelf on this type of cabinet. Storage tends to be underneath the ice cream pans on display (so you have to lift these out to access tubs stored there). Some of the units also have a sliding lid under the sneeze screen to access the ice cream  so you can only access one side at a time (not helpful if you are really busy and want 2 people serving). Also, as they are a static cooled system with manual defrost, you can get ice build-up over time – though you can reduce this by making sure lids are properly closed and not left open unnecessarily.

These cabinets make a great entry level unit into the world of ice cream sales and the Tefcold IC-SC range and IC-SCE range are some of our best sellers proving to be both reliable and popular. It is also worth considering the Framec Slant 510 which displays 10 flavours in a very small footprint and has separate understorage - another one of our best sellers.


This is where some people would say “proper” ice cream scooping displays start. This area of the market is dominated by excellent units from Framec and ISA with the massively popular Top range, J-Range and Isetta Range. Specifically designed to display ice cream, these units generally accept 4.5 - 5 litre napoli tubs. Usually with a rear shelf to aid serving, they come with an internal light (either in the glass canopy or at the back of the unit) to illuminate the ice cream and help create a mouth-watering display. Commonly, they have a light yet effective hinged rear lid to help insulate the unit at the same time as allowing quick access for serving customers. Generally they have separate refrigerated understorage which is accessed through a door at the rear of the unit, so you do not have to remove pans from the display to access extra stock. Also at this price you will often get automatic defrost which will help reduce the change of the unit icing up.

At the higher end of the market you move into ventilated (sometimes called fan assisted) ice cream scooping cabinets - ISA make some of the best scooping units available.

The cost increases for this kind of cabinet but so do the benefits. The temperature is more consistent over the whole display and the unit will be able to deal with a high volume of ice cream being served. Ice build-up is less likely as they have automatic defrost to help prevent this. Ice cream can also be positioned higher in the unit creating a more attractive display. A well known high street chain selling ice cream increased its sales by 20% through changing to a cabinet that displays ice cream right near the top of the unit – making the ice cream more eye-catching to passing customers – very simply you can see the ice cream from further away, it is not hidden down within the unit. With ventilated cooling enabling more consistent temperature, these displays are ideal for gelato which is more temperature sensitive.

Our most popular ventilated scooping display is the versatile ISA Millennium. This comes with either curved glass (SP model) and or the flat glass option (STD model). The Millennium comes in 5 different sizes from a 12 scoop all the way up to they massive 24 scoop where you can create a truly mouthwatering display.

Ventilated units generally do not to have understorage so you will need a back-up freezer for extra stock. Though the ISA Bermuda and the Bermuda View both are ventilated displays with refrigerated understorage.

Things to consider when buying an ice cream display

  1. How much space do you have for a display?
  2. How many flavours do you want to sell? Make sure you are planning to display the most popular flavours. (Between 6 and 9 flavours flavours are the most common choice).
  3. Who is going to supply your ice cream? Most suppliers tend to sell in plastic 5 litre napoli tubs that slot straight into the stainless napoli pans. Some supply 4ltr tubs (or both). It’s worth checking this out first.
  4. Are you happy to access extra stock through the top? Or do you want understorage accessed from the rear? You will need to make sure you have sufficient back-up stock especially if the weather is fine and sales increase. If you are planning to purchase a high end ventilated scooping unit, do you need an extra storage freezer (upright or chest freezer) to keep extra stock in? 
  5. Do you have a suitable power supply for the unit you are buying? The smaller ones tend just to run off a 13amp 3 pin plug. Larger more premium units are sometimes 20amp, 32amp or, for some of the really big display units, 3 phase supply.
  6. All display cabinets should be kept meticulously clean for both food hygiene and making a great looking display. We recommend a thorough cleaning of the display from every 2 days to once a week depending on how busy you are. Remember you will need to put the ice cream somewhere to be stored while you clean the unit. A small budget chest freezer will be suitable for this. It can also be used for extra back-up stock. 

Don’t forget the extras you might need: scoops, scoop wash, signage for both inside and outside your premises to advertise your ice cream. Your ice cream supplier can often be of help.

You can view our complete ice cream scooping range here

If you are an ice cream manufacturer or wholesaler and you are intersting in buying branding ice cream scooping displays you can request our Ice Cream Freezer Catalogue by clicking here