Guide to Bakery Cases

Bakery cases, or non-refrigerated display cases, are used to put pastries and baked goods on display in cafeterias, diners, bakeries, convenience stores, and an assortment of other settings. They vary from large full sized bakery cases that can hold rows of cakes down to small countertop display cases that only have space for a few muffins.
The power of displaying your product in an appetizing way is unparalleled in both attracting customers and turning their browsing into a purchase. Getting the right display case just might be the key to your next big sale!

Bakery Cases

Bakery Case
Bakery cases are the best choice for businesses whose primary product is baked goods. They are large, sit on the floor, and hold a good volume of product. They have either a glass or open air front so that the products are fully on display. You might see these types of display cases full of baskets of bagels, trays of donuts, racks of cakes, you name it. Most come with 2-3 shelves but more can be ordered if needed.

Self Service vs. Employee Access Only Cases

Self-service bakery cases have glass on their sides but the front is left open to the air. You will see these in cafeterias or grocery stores where customers serve themselves. You do not need an employee on hand at all times but they do require some maintenance as they are prone to getting dirty and disorganized throughout the day. You also will need a sanitary way for customers to access the goods (such as tongs) and will only want to put fast moving product in here has it will not be protected from airborne particles.
Employee access only bakery cases tend to be the most common. They have a pane of glass over the front of the unit and only allow access from the back. This allows employees to keep the displays clean and to bag up products for customers in a sanitary way. Another benefit to these cases is that the product is protected from dust and flies – you wouldn’t want your sticky donuts left open to anything that might float by.

Independent Lighting vs. No Lighting

Bakery display cases can come with or without independent lighting. Your product should always to be fully lit, so the variable you need to consider is if you have sufficient external lighting in your establishment. If you are in a bright cafeteria, independent lighting may not be necessary. If you run a coffee shop that likes to keep dim mood lighting though, a case with lights built in will be your best bet. Customers can’t want what they can’t see!

Countertop Pastry Cases

Countertop Pastry Case
Countertop pastry cases are used for both impulse buys near the register and for establishments that only offer a small selection of baked goods. You will rarely see these small cases in a bakery or bagel shop, they will most often be in coffee shops or convenience stores whose primary product is not baked goods.

Self Service vs. Employee Access Only Cases

Small, countertop pastry cases often come self-service capable. They will usually have hinged doors with tongs that a customer can open and scoop out their item. Some will have completely open fronts but those can be a little less sanitary than cases with doors. Self service countertop cases are very popular with cafeterias and buffets in particular.
Cases that are enclosed and only open from the back are good with delicate products or for establishments that simply do not want customers reaching into their pastry cases. If you do go the employee access only route just be sure you have someone on hand to assist with any customer requests.


Countertop bakery cases come in everything from a simple wire basket to a sophisticated wooden and glass case. There are even specialty cases designed for sliced bread, pies, bagels, and other baked goods. Choose the type that is both the most convenient for the way you plan to use it and that fits the style of your establishment.

Popular Brands

True Refrigeration has been a trusted foodservice brand since 1945. They make very popular non-refrigerated display cases and continue to lead the industry in practical design.
Cal-Mil was founded in 1965 and has become an expert in its field. They make countertop display cases of many kinds that are often seen in buffets and convenience stores across the globe.


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