Running a restaurant can be difficult. The cost of food and drinks, staff, insurance, rent, kitchen appliances, and utensils can quickly add up. One area where restaurant owners often spend too much money on is purchasing equipment.
The money required to buy new equipment can be substantially higher than the cost to purchase pre-owned equipment; so the higher initial cost of new appliances should be strongly considered.
More often than not, you can negotiate prices with vendors who sell used appliances, such as a used commercial refrigerator. Some will also offer discounts if you purchase items in bulk, so you may be able to buy everything you need in one shot and save a substantial amount.
Here, we will provide a guide for restaurant owners looking to buy used commercial refrigerators and other restaurant-related appliances and equipment.
The Benefits of Buying Used Commercial Equipment
First and foremost, the money that you can save by buying used commercial refrigerators, and other such kitchen appliances and equipment, can be used to hire staff, purchase more food, advertise your business, or pay for rent and insurance.
Many vendors will also offer free items if you purchase several appliances from them, including complimentary toasters, prep tables, and used commercial refrigerators, to name a few. Another benefit of buying used items is that prices can usually be negotiated, which cannot often be said to buy brand new items.
The eco-friendly benefits of used commercial equipment should also be mentioned, as buying used refrigerators, freezers, stoves, and the like can serve as a form of recycling or “upcycling.” Otherwise, many used appliances will end up in landfills, where they will rot for eons and contribute to air, water, and land pollution.
Some owners may worry that used restaurant appliances will be in poor condition, but this is far from the case. Many are in perfect working condition and may not have any cosmetic defects either. Most used commercial appliances are sold by restaurants that have gone under, so the items tend to be in good to excellent condition, as most have only been used for months or a few years.
Restaurants looking to upgrade may trade in their older models for the latest and greatest. However, you may not need the most advanced new appliances for your restaurant, especially if you are a smaller business or just starting up.
Finally, you will likely qualify for a tax break when you buy used commercial appliances and equipment, as you will receive a tax deduction for the full buying price of the appliance.
Factors to Consider When Selecting Used Restaurant Equipment
The first thing to look for is a current warranty that is also transferable. Even if the price ends up being a little more to obtain a warranty, we would still strongly recommend it. You may end up paying significantly more in the form of parts and repairs down the road if you buy an appliance without a warranty.
Service records are also a must, as you can go over them to check if the appliance has been reconditioned and determine whether or not it has been well-maintained over the months or years. We would suggest that you avoid purchasing “as is” items and opt for products that come with service records to gauge their quality and reliability.
Also, restaurant equipment tends to consume copious amounts of power, so you can save quite a bit of money and energy down the line by buying items with an energy star certification.
Used appliances that come equipped with an energy star certification are guaranteed to maximize energy efficiency, which ensures that they will not draw more power than what is needed; this will drastically reduce your energy bill.
Brand and price are also factors to consider, as you often get what you pay for. That is, generic products tend to be less reliable and efficient than their branded counterparts, so it is recommended that you opt for products that are manufactured by a trustworthy brand.
Most non-branded items will not last for the entire duration specified by the manufacturer and tend to break down more often than their branded counterparts. This results in needing repairs and replacement parts that can quickly eat into your profits.
Where to Find Used Equipment
The four top sources of used restaurant equipment in North America are resale stores, damaged appliance vendors, previously-owned restaurant supply outlets, and online.
Some Tips for Buying Used Restaurant Equipment
First, take the time to meticulously inspect the equipment from top to bottom to ensure that it is in good to great working condition before buying it. Part availability for the item that you are interested in should also be researched, as you may need replacement parts in the future. This is because not all appliances will have replacement parts still in production.
Check online reviews of the used restaurant equipment that you are thinking of buying to ensure that it is a quality product, and you should also check to ensure that the brand is reputable and trustworthy.
Buying Used Restaurant Equipment
There are multiple benefits to buying used restaurant equipment, from the much lower — and often negotiable — prices, to tax deductions, as well as the environmental benefits and the complimentary items that are often included as a thank you for buying used appliances and utensils.
However, you need to perform the necessary due diligence to ensure that the used items include service records, a certified warranty, and are sold by a trusted and reliable vendor with a proven track record of success.