Posted: May 16, 2012
At some point or another, every restaurant has to upgrade equipment to ensure productivity and efficiency in their kitchen. Upgrades are needed when restaurant equipment breaks down or stops running at full capacity, but before this happens, one telltale sign of a need to upgrade is increased usage. Constant use of a piece of equipment can cause it to age quicker, and it is a great idea to upgrade when you first sense that a machine is working harder than it should be. There are a few things to take into consideration, however, before buying the first replacement piece that catches your eye.
Are parts available? / Is it fixable? : Sometimes an upgrade can be as easy as buying and installing a part. Often times when restaurant equipment efficiency begins to taper off, replacing a part can breathe new life back into it. For example, the condenser from a refrigerator is an example of a replacement part that can make an old piece of equipment almost new again. However, this is a double-edged sword, and the prices of replacement parts must be examined alongside the cost of a piece of replacement equipment. From time to time the replacement part needed closely rivals the price of a new or used piece, in which case the extended life the part would give the old equipment may not compare to the longevity of a new or used piece.
Is used restaurant equipment still an upgrade? : Pieces of used restaurant equipment can still be an upgrade from a current piece of equipment that may not be up to par. Some pieces of used equipment don’t necessarily see high volume usage. In fact, many are from restaurants that have either closed from lack of volume or are from restaurants that retool their menus because certain items don’t sell as well as others, making a piece irrelevant in their kitchen. These items can be superb upgrades, and last as long as a new piece of equipment. Additionally, some pieces are built to last even under heavy usage. Items like gas deck ovens, manual griddles, commercial ranges, or convection ovens traditionally have long lives, and can be functional and efficient even when purchased used. Even things like stainless steel sinks can be purchased used, as they are extremely durable, and are rarely damaged in the way that equipment can be.
When is the right time to buy new restaurant equipment? : Upgrading parts or purchasing used commercial equipment does not always mean a permanent solution to a problem. New equipment should be purchased when longevity is a must. New equipment is just that, brand new, fresh out of the box. A new purchase often ensures a significant amount of time of hassle free usage, there is (most of the time) a warranty to protect you during any transitional period, and most important of all, it gives the option to pick out a specific piece. Rather then shopping around for sufficient pieces of used equipment that may fit your needs, with a new piece comes the option to pick the exact make and model needed, or even purchase a custom piece to fit exactly. This is a tremendous asset when dealing within specific size requirements, or when dealing with rare restaurant equipment that can’t necessarily be found in the used section of retailers.