Should You Consider Used Restaurant Equipment?

It’s no secret that your restaurant’s space is one of the biggest expenses you have to factor into your budget.

It’s no secret that your restaurant’s space is one of the biggest expenses you have to factor into your budget. You expect real estate to take a big chunk out of your small business loan or savings account. There’s a sneakier budget-buster that many new restaurant owners don’t consider, though: restaurant equipment. As you start to add up the costs, you may experience sticker shock – especially if you’re buying new gear. Many restaurateurs cut corners by purchasing or leasing appliances, dining room décor and dinnerware. It may be the solution to your budget woes, but there are many factors to consider.

There’s a sneakier budget-buster that many new restaurant owners don’t consider, though: restaurant equipment. As you add up the costs, you may experience sticker shock – especially if you’re buying new gear. Many restaurateurs cut corners by purchasing or leasing appliances, dining room décor and dinnerware. It may be the solution to your budget woes, but there are many factors to consider.

Save money

The obvious benefit to buying used restaurant equipment is the money you’re going to save. You can typically find used stoves, ovens, mixers and more made for a commercial kitchen at half the price of what you would pay for new ones. You can find used dinnerware, too, at restaurant equipment auctions, or even online auction websites.

Warranties

If a warranty is important to you so you can save on eventual repair costs, you should buy new equipment. If you buy used equipment, understand that you’re taking a bit of a risk. You can inspect your equipment for obvious issues and find out its history, including how long it has been used and how many times it has been repaired, but that doesn’t guarantee it won’t break after two weeks’ use. You have to be prepared to hire a repair person if the equipment fails, because the manufacturer warranty likely won’t transfer to you.

Bargaining

Dealers of used restaurant equipment don’t want to hold onto items any longer than they have to. This means that you may be able to haggle with the owner to get a better price than the one they are listing. Just as you negotiate your restaurant lease, you should negotiate for a better deal on used restaurant equipment. Buying new kitchen equipment, though, doesn’t allow for this option.

Mismatching

The only real downside to buying used dinnerware for your restaurant is that you may not get all the pieces you need in the same design. If it’s important to you to keep a consistent theme, you may want to consider buying these pieces new.

Whole kitchens

If you need to outfit your entire kitchen with stoves, ovens, grills, a dishwasher and cold storage, you may be able to pay one price for a whole slew of appliances and restaurant equipment – this is where you can save a considerable amount of money. Even if you only buy a handful of pieces from the same vendor, you can ask them to throw in a few other pieces, such as prep tables or a toaster oven for free.

If the benefits of buying used restaurant equipment outweigh the benefits of buying new, then be sure to find a local dealer or auction so you can see the pieces yourself. You also have the option of leasing some equipment, but you may have to pay high finance charges, depending on your credit history, business experience and other factors.