7 Foodservice Ideas That Run Hot and Cold

Believe it or not, the summer months see as much hot-food opportunity as cold-food menu programs. Just ask Paul Servais, retail foodservice director for La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip: “We actually sell more hot food in the summer. We see about a million more guests per week in the summer than in the winter. Summer is our best time of year for hot food and cold food,” he says.

Click through to see some examples of hot- and cold-food options rolling out for the busy summer selling months, as well as leading-edge equipment ideas. 

Johnsonville’s Firecracker Bratwurst

Leslie Hoffman, vice president of national sales-retail for Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based Alto-Shaam Inc., says the company sees “more c-stores entering the hot and fresh food market, and the equipment purchasing isn’t seasonal. They may change their menu to have limited-time offers (LTOs) for warmer weather/summer season, but the need is still there for hot food.”

Flavored with hot peppers, one LTO option that’s white-hot is Johnsonville’s Firecracker Bratwurst, which is “guaranteed to blaze your taste buds,” the company said.


For operators entering the hot and fresh food market where equipment purchasing isn’t proving to be seasonal but to cater to year-round needs, Alto-Shaam provides a merchandiser featuring individually controlled heated shelves to keep food warm for hours at the highest level of quality. It’s designed with exclusive Halo Heat fanless technology for precise, even temperature. The heated shelf merchandisers can hold rotisserie chicken, pizza, sandwiches and more. 

Hatco Corp.’s Mini Vertical Warmer

Smaller merchandisers are in hot demand. That’s meaningful to Josh Lund, owner of Shell-branded Beaudry Express, Elk River, Minn., who says these options are not only ideal for his smaller-size store but actually enhance presentation of food at the same time.

Hatco Corp.’s Mini Vertical Warmer is a small-footprint unit that holds prepackaged snacks at optimum serving temperatures, making it an ideal warmer for cookies and brownies. Up to eight units can be connected side by side while utilizing only one outlet connection. 

Broaster Express Program

One equipment route retailers are taking is to work through a branded food supplier to procure the food and equipment within one integrated plan. Operators can turn small spaces into big profits with the Broaster Express Program, which combines space-saving countertop ventless fryers or high-volume pressure fryers with a selection of ready-to-cook Broaster Foods products. 

Vector Series Multi-Cook Oven

Flexibility is essential for retailer food ventures. The Vector Series Multi-Cook Oven from Alto-Shaam offers up to four ovens in one. Featuring Structured Air Technology (patent pending) for unmatched evenness in cooking, the small-footprint oven can simultaneously cook a variety of menu items with no flavor transfer. 

Hydra–Kool Dairy Product & Cold Food Merchandiser

Also spouting flexibility and garnering acclaim for a wide range of advantages is the Hydra-Kool Dairy Product & Cold Food Merchandiser from the MVP Group. It records temperatures every 15 minutes for two-week periods via computerized software transmitting reports. 

MultiChef high-speed oven

Offering more flexibility, the MultiChef high-speed oven from Motion Technology Inc. uses convection, direct infrared and Rotary Air Impingement technology for rapid cooking. Operators can cook, toast, bake, melt and reheat items without sacrificing food quality, the company says. The unit features a small footprint with no hoods or venting. There are two models available: MultiChef 5500 and MultiChef 6500.