5 Tips for Buying Used Restaurant Kitchen Equipment

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While restaurant furnishings and great entrees are essential aspects of running an eatery, nothing could be done without Grade-A commercial restaurant equipment. For small restaurants and establishments on a tight budget, however, purchasing new equipment can be uneconomical. If even one piece of kitchen equipment breaks down, it can bring the entire restaurant to a halt. Fortunately, used restaurant equipment works just as well—as long as a few simple rules are followed when purchasing.

1. Shop Locally for Cooking Equipment
Not everything a restaurateur purchases needs to be local. In fact, trying to purchase everything locally can quickly turn expensive. When it comes to cooking equipment, though, it’s best to search and purchase nearby. Used deep fryers, grills and other equipment are often found in eateries that are closing down, and unfortunately, purchasing these items isn’t like shopping on eBay.

A restaurateur who purchases used cooking equipment long distance will not have an opportunity to inspect their purchase. This is vital when purchasing used kitchen items. A single issue with a deep fryer can turn it into an expensive paperweight that must either be replaced or repaired. Shopping locally for cooking equipment, where it can be inspected before purchase, is a necessity.

2. Shop Around for Warranties
Everything from restaurant furnishings to point-of-sale systems come with a refund policy, but this isn’t always the case with used cooking equipment. After all, no one is expecting to get a brand-new grill if they’re paying for a used one. This does not mean, though, that restaurateurs shouldn’t look for equipment with a warranty. These typically only last between 30 and 90 days, but this should be more than enough time to have inspections and try out the equipment on site.

3. Check the Price of New Equipment
The entire point of purchasing used commercial kitchen equipment is to get a great deal. Restaurateurs should always remember, though, that a lower price doesn’t necessarily equate to a good deal. In fact, if a piece of used cooking equipment costs over half of what it would cost to purchase new, it’s a good idea to consider opting for the newer models. With any used item, a bit is being sacrificed in the name of saving money, but if the price of a heavily-used fryer is 60 percent of a new one, the costs could exceed the benefits.

4. Make Sure Equipment Is Commercial-Grade
Making sure a piece of used cooking equipment is commercial-grade is an essential aspect of buying used equipment. This ensures it’s capable of handling the large workload experienced in restaurant settings. Plus, most health departments will require commercial-grade equipment. Failing to follow this rule could leave an eatery full of empty restaurant furnishings while the owner spends time “getting up to code.”

5. Seek Out Auctions
Seeking out local auctions that feature commercial kitchen equipment is a great way to save money. Auction items typically go for far less than equipment purchased elsewhere. Just make sure to inspect the items before laying down the money.

Purchasing used restaurant furnishings, carpeting, curtains or other items is typically costly due to the quick need to replace them. With commercial kitchen equipment, though, this is largely avoidable. For restaurateurs who follow the aforementioned rules, it’s simple to get great used equipment at a fair price.