Grocery store cooler print design

Grocery store coolers are increasing in popularity in an effort to draw customers into stores. 

Although foot traffic at grocery stores is rebounding post covid era, the landscape of customer behavior has been forever changed.

Now that customers are returning to traditional shopping behaviors, grocers are finding the need to provide a personalized and engaging experience. So how are grocery stores enticing customers back into the store? Simply put, providing additional experiences while you are in the store!

Storefronts are becoming much more diverse with unique offerings such as in-store restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and other in-store experiences. The mix of retail with community hub or café experiences provides an opportunity to bring new customers into stores that would typically walk on by. To make these concepts a reality, walk in coolers are being added to accommodate the variety of unique offerings.  

At KPS Global®,  we have seen the innovation at the store level and have provided walk-ins to many grocers for coolers to support these diverse experiences.

This blog discusses where walk-in coolers are being used in unique grocery store applications beyond the traditional back room coolers and freezers.

The Future of Grocery Stores

The grocery landscape has evolved as the adoption of buying online has being widely accepted and led to the popularity of also buying groceries online.  From in-store pickup to third party delivery services, the need to spend time in the physical grocery store has decreased.

However, in-store shopping and in-store experiences are still popular among consumers. Grocers are beginning to find unique ways to bring more customers into stores and expand their customer base.

With these changes, grocery stores have put a significant focus on providing an opportunity to give customers shopping experiences. Customers are no longer choosing grocery stores based on the products they offer but instead on the experience they receive.

Grocery Store aisle with cooler at the end of the aisle containing beverages

How Are Grocery Stores Uilizing Walk-In Coolers

The most common use of walk-ins in grocery stores are for food storage. In the typical grocery store, walk-ins are used to hold a variety of different foods in several units. As grocery stores evolve to offer more unique offerings such as Third Stores such as in-store restaurants and coffee shops, walk-in applications are changing as well. Grocery store coolers are being dedicated to specific items such as coffee coolers, sushi coolers, and even salsa coolers.

Examples Of Grocery Store Coolers

There are a variety of different types of grocery store walk-in coolers outside of the most common applications. These include:

Floral cooler showcasing a variety of flower bouquet options
Inside of a grocery store beer cooler where numerus kegs of beer are stored

Providing Grocery Store Coolers

KPSG has been working with grocey stores for decades, supporting them as they evolve.  Some of our favorite projects to design have been unique grocery store coolers. Two of our favorite walk-in grocery store coolers are sushi coolers and coffee coolers.  

Coffee Coolers

Another opportunity for grocery stores is to offer fresh coffee, often served through a separate entrance. Grocery store coolers for the dedicated use of storing coffee are becoming a standard request when opening new locations.

Coffee beans require dedicated storage to stay at peak freshness, due to their sponge like ability to absorb moisture, flavors, and any other outside aromas, which is why they should not be stored in a walk-in cooler with other products.

Grocery store cooler print design
Design Print of Grocery Store Sushi Cooler

Sushi Coolers

Sushi display cases on the store floor have become more common as the demand for fresh sushi has increased. Ingredients for sushi stations are stored in dedicated walk in coolers where employees prep for the day’s offerings. Dedicated walk in coolers for the storage of sushi ingredients allow for a more efficient process for the sushi chefs. With the ingredients all in one place and located off the store floor it is easy for fresh rolls to be made daily.

The Benefits of Utilizing Grocery Store Coolers

The grocery store landscape is evolving, and grocers are changing their in-store offerings to meet the needs of customers.  As grocers remodel stores and build new ones the inclusion of in-store offerings and experiences such as ready-made meals, coffee shops, bars, and restaurants is becoming more common requiring the need for more temperature controlled storage spaces has increased as well.

Utilizing separate walk-in coolers for these new in-store offerings is beneficial from an efficiency and food safety standpoint. Separate walk-in coolers in the back rooms of grocery stores provide easy storage and access for dedicated in-store operations and reduce the risk  contamination.

Additionally, these walk-ins are designed for the intended purpose of the in-store offering and will be located close to the operation, improving efficiency.

Not only are dedicated walk-ins more efficient, they also reduce the risk of cross-contamination and can increase the quality and taste of the offerings. Different items have different storage requirements and dedicated grocery store coolers for specific in-store experiences can ensure optimal storage requirements are met. 

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What To Consider When Purchasing a Grocery Store Cooler

Grocery store coolers are one of the largest investments made when opening a new store or remodeling an older one. When purchasing a grocery store cooler, it is important to consider a variety of details to ensure the appropriate cooler is chosen. 

Considerations For Grocery Store Coolers Include:

Installation Location

The destination location and installation location should be considered during the design process as these dictate if additional elements such as structural support or HVAC controls are needed.

Need a walk in cooler installed sharing a wall with a rotisserie machine or oven? If so, your walk in cooler may require additional insulation to protect contents from heat transfer.

Frame Types

When purchasing a grocery store cooler, buyers should consider the different panel types and the benefits they offer. Grocery store coolers are manufactured utilizing insulated panels and can be manufactured with three panels types:

  1. Wood Frame
  2. HDR Foam
  3. Fusion Frame

Wood frame panels while structurally sound and lower in cost falls short in terms of R-value as wood acts as a highway for heat transfer.

HDR or high density rail foamed frames known as INSULFRAME® at KPS Global is a polyurethane foam core poured at high density, creating a stronger more dense panel allowing for higher thermal value than a traditional wood frame.

FUSIONFRAME® offers the best of both a foam frame with a structural element embedded within the foam. This provides structural performance of a wood frame and the thermal performance of HDR.


When purchasing a new grocery store cooler it is important to consider the function and intended use of the cooler. This will identify other considerations such as, capacity needs, frequency of restocking and volume of stored products. Knowing these ensure the right size, panel type and refrigeration that will be required to properly maintain specific cooler temperatures.

Additional Components

There are many additional components that should be considered when purchasing a grocery store cooler, these include:

Choosing the right components can not only improve operational efficiency but energy efficiency as well.


Grocery store coolers offer many unique applications and provide opportunities for stores to enhance customer experiences. Working with a manufacturer to supply a customized grocery store cooler will provide flexibility to meet the need of any unique solution.

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