Used restaurant equipment can provide excellent cost savings. You may be able to find exactly what you need at a fraction of the cost compared to new restaurant appliances, furniture, serving items, cookware, safety equipment, cleaning equipment, etc. However, buying used restaurant equipment can also come with some risks. It’s important to understand what you are purchasing and do everything you can to avoid poor quality merchandise.
Here are 7 of the most important things you need to look for when buying used restaurant equipment:
1. Reputable Seller
This is true when buying anything used or refurbished. You want to make sure you trust the seller and that they have a strong reputation. You may be able to get a better deal buying used restaurant equipment directly from a fellow restaurateur who is going out of business or upgrading their items. Ask questions and see if you are able to inspect the equipment personally. Test it if you can to make sure it is working correctly. Ask about warranties, user manuals and any other documentation that may benefit you as the new owner.
If buying from a wholesaler or auction house like KMC, do your research. Read reviews online. Ask a lot of questions. Make sure you are getting the information and assurance you need before making any large equipment purchases.
2. Equipment History
The seller should be able to provide you with some sort of history for the used restaurant equipment. It may have been used for 10 years, or it may have only been used for one before the restaurant went out of business. Try to find out when it was originally purchased, where it was used and how much it was used. This information may not always be available when buying used restaurant equipment from a reseller, but it still never hurts to ask and find out as much as you can. In addition, you should read reviews and do research about the product itself. Are there common problems or durability issues that you may want to avoid?
Again, physically inspect and test the equipment if you have access. Even used restaurant equipment that is relatively new could have significant damage or performance problems. There may be a reason why the seller is looking to get rid of it. Do what you can to make sure it is working properly. At Kohn-Megibow, we thoroughly inspect and test all equipment that comes through our warehouse. We pass this detailed information along to our buyers, but you can also request a personal inspection before an auction is completed.
Many used restaurant equipment items still have the original warranties attached, and some restaurant owners will purchase extended warranty programs. Ask for any details about active warranties. Get the full details of the coverage, as well. Some warranties can be voided with the change of ownership. Having an active warranty or an option to purchase an extended warranty could provide you with more peace of mind as a used restaurant equipment buyer.
5. Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency is so important. Utilities like electricity and gas aren’t cheap. Sometimes, the cost of operation far exceeds any upfront savings you might experience from the used restaurant equipment purchase. Research the energy consumption of any item you are thinking about buying and see how much money it will cost/save you over the long run.
6. Operation & Maintenance
Understand how the equipment is to be used. Some appliances are much more user-friendly than others. Maintenance, cleaning and safety are other issues to consider before buying used restaurant equipment.
7. Restaurant Compatibility
Lastly, it is important to understand how the equipment will be used at your restaurant. Some used equipment buyers get excited about a good deal on a commercial-quality appliance. Then, they realize later that the item isn’t a good fit for their kitchen. It’s too big or it’s not big enough. Purchasing used restaurant equipment can save you quite a bit of money, but you still have to make sure the item is something that you can actually utilize.
These are some of the most important things to look for when buying used restaurant equipment. For all your new and used restaurant equipment needs, count on the team at KMC. We have bi-weekly live auctions, online auctions and direct purchase options. Just let us know how we can help. Contact us today with any questions.