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Buying Used Restaurant Equipment: Pros and Cons

One of the biggest expenses of opening a new restaurant, bar or catering business is buying the equipment. A $100,000 start up allowance may seem like a sufficient budget to equip the kitchen and furnish the front-of-house when you are planning a new business, but it will run out quickly.

Buying new equipment such as commercial ranges, broilers, fryers, dishwashers, coolers and freezers are large ticket items that will eat into your budget. In addition, much like a new car, these items begin to depreciate when they leave the showroom. Then there's the tableware, barware, furniture and the remaining decor. To help you save some start up cash, consider purchasing quality used equipment. ACityDiscount has been buying and selling used restaurant equipment and furniture for over 35 years. Learn from our experience in the industry to lessen the risk and increase the value of your used purchases.

Pros of Buying Used Restaurant Equipment

Buying used equipment will save your start up cash, which can be put toward your first food order, staff payroll, or restaurant marketing. Due to the high failure of new restaurants many second hand pieces of equipment have only been in service for a year or two. If you are lucky, you may be able to purchase equipment that has never been opened, or be able to transfer the original manufacturer's warranty to you, the new owner.

Reading the manufacturer's spec sheet on the specific items you are interested in purchasing will allow you to know what was originally sold with the new item, to know if any parts are now missing, and if replacement parts are still available. Keep in mind the age of the model of equipment you are buying because down the road this could effect maintenance costs.

The value of researching the items you need to get the most bang for you buck can't be ignored. Having one piece of equipment that can handle multiple jobs in the kitchen can end up saving you thousands in start up costs. This is especially relevant to buying used equipment. Since used equipment can be found at reduced prices you can usually buy accessories to expand the scope of the original item.

Cons of Buying Used Restaurant Equipment

Used restaurant equipment is usually sold “as is.” Most reputable dealers will have a technician inspect an item to assess its condition and resale value, so they should be able to provide an honest assessment. However, most commercial restaurant equipment, particularly gas cooking equipment, is built to last, so if one small part goes, it is usually easy to replace.

Suggest Types of Used Equipment

Purchasing the following equipment second-hand is a safe bet for those wanting to get their feet wet in the used foodservice equipment market.

  • Gas Ranges, Baking Ovens Convection Ovens and Fryer have a fairly long life span. So if the items you want are missing some knobs don’t fret, they are easily replaced.
  • Commercial Refrigeration can be a large expense for any start up food operation. Buying used can save you valuable dollars while you iron out your exact needs. And since modern commercial refrigeration is built to last countless hardships in day to day use, you will certainly get your monies worth.
  • Gas Steam Tables are solidly built, and have few parts.
  • Smallwares such as stock pots, fry pans, bakery sheet pans, steam table pans and bar supplies, etc. can all be purchase second hand with no health code infraction. (You can find a large selection of used smallwares in our showroom. They turnover so frequently they are not listed on our website. So come into the store to check them out!)
  • Tableware such as dinnerware, glasses, decanters, vases, salt and pepper shakers, etc. can all be purchased second hand with confidence. The only problem you will face is finding enough matching pieces to complement your décor.
  • Table & Seating - Any flaws, such as scratches in the laminate and holes in the upholstery will be visible. As long as the seating feels comfortable and tables sit flush to the floor, you just need to find enough matching used pieces to complement your décor.
  • At the end of the day, shopping through a large offering of used equipment will save you the most money and make it easier for you to meet most or all of your restaurant equipment, furniture, tableware, and smallware needs. You can potentially save a ton with restaurant equipment auction and bulk purchases. So go ahead and give used equipment a shot!

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