Modular Counters Buying Guide

Modular Counters

Modular counters refer to buffet display systems for food products including:

  • Bain Marie Mobile Hot Cupboards.
  • Food Bars.
  • Heated Carveries.
  • Mobile Beverage Counters.
  • Salad/Sweet Displays.
  • Salad Bar Counters.
  • Tiled Top Hot Cupboards.

Especially for customers to serve themselves, modular counters are attractively designed and easy to use. They are designed to be moveable so you can change their location and they come with shelving as well as a variety of colours to suit your décor.  Depending on the use (e.g. hot, chilled or ambient) you can choose from varying temperature controls.

Bain Marie Mobile Hot Cupboards

For optimum performance, hot cupboards with a Bain Marie top can be used with wet or dry heat and depending on your end use you can choose from heated outer-shelving, over-head gantries, tray slide bumpers, door locks and gastronorm inserts.  These don’t just keep your food warm but display your food beautifully too.  Like hot cupboards, Bain Marie buffet hot cupboards have a spirit lamp underneath the unit which keeps the water hot.  These are very convenient ways of keeping food hot because they have more mobility as they don’t need a power socket. Look for digital temperature display so you can easily keep an eye on the temperature for food safety reasons.

Tiled Top Hot Cupboard

This style of hot cupboard comes with a heated tiled top and a natural convection oven hot cupboard below.  The cupboards come with shelving inside so you keep food hot inside the cupboard.  Food pots used by the customer are placed on the top of the serving area, when these are empty, it is then easy to remove a replacement pot from the cupboard and swap over. Choose a tiled top hot cupboard with removable tiled inserts if you want the option of having a dry heat Bain Marie unit.

Food Bar

A food bar is all-in-one buffet equipment that is useful especially if you are looking for a portable option.  It comes with hygienic sneeze guards to protect food from unwanted germs and the all-weather material means it can be used outside in the summer months.  The beauty of one of these items is that there are a number of different configurations available so you can easily design something to suit your needs.  Easy to clean, modern and attractive it brings plenty of versatility and is ideal if you only prepare occasional buffets.

Heated Carvery

This type of equipment is essential if you are serving roasts because it is designed to keep the meat at the correct temperature for a long time.  Depending on your space, there are plenty of different size carveries available so bound to be something which works perfectly for your needs.  The carvery is designed with a convection hot cupboard underneath where food is kept warm; additionally there is a useful shelving system.  Constructed out of hard-wearing and long-lasting stainless steel so built to last, no buffet should be without a heated carvery.  Optional extras include tray-slides, for extra convenience for your customers and important sneeze guards to keep your roasts free from unwanted bacteria.

Beverage Units

A mobile beverage unit gives you flexibility when using buffet service.  Ideal for ambient use and for coffee/tea/hot drinks, they can also be used outside so if you have food service on a terrace during summer months then investing in one of these is a wise idea!  Look for beverage units made out of stainless steel as these will last you for a long time, shelving inside the unit is an added benefit as it acts as useful storage when you need it.  Mobile beverage units are most advantageous when on castors because they are easy to port.  Think about your space too, there are plenty size options to choose from.

Salad/Sweet Counter

Every buffet needs an area for freshly prepared salads and sweets.  These counters are designed to keep fresh food at the right refrigeration temperature and you should look for something which has an easy to read temperature controller and visible display to make sure health standards are maintained during service.  Cupboards and shelving inside the counters are useful too.  Consider your offering and purchase a unit which will fit your space and give you plenty of room inside to store your chilled items.  There are various size options available.  Sneeze guards and serving tray options are also available, for even more convenience to your customers and keeping freshly prepared food free from unwanted germs.


Most of the mobile counters come with optional accessories, designed to enhance and add to the convenience of buffet-style service.  Depending on what you serve on your buffet you will need to add some of the following items:

  • Tiled inserts (usually used for Bain Marie).
  • Glass inserts (another option to tiled inserts).
  • Tiled carvery inserts (these come with or without carvery pads).
  • Gravy dishes (used with the carvery).
  • Tray rail (for customers to easily manoeuvre their food trays around the buffet).
  • Buffet Camchiller (keeps food cold without using ice and holds temperature static).

For further information on Modular Counters visit the Catering Display pages in the Catering Appliances section or contact the Alliance customer care team

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