Even though it may seem like a good way to save money, used restaurant equipment can be a risky investment. Due to the fact that the equipment and components are older, they are more likely to fail, forcing costly replacements. Also, older pieces of restaurant equipment are not as efficient as their new counterparts. All told, you may end up spending more in repair costs and utility bills than you would if you had just bought new to begin with.
Buy Everything Else Used
Rather than looking for used restaurant equipment, you could shop for used furniture, work tables, shelving units or anything else non-mechanical. As long as it was not abused, these types of items should be perfectly fine, and you can still save money. This will free up some capital to invest in good-quality new restaurant equipment.
Opt for a Lease-to-Own Contract
A lot of new restaurant equipment dealers will offer a lease-to-own program. You pay some money up front and make payments every month. Once you have fulfilled the terms of the lease, you own the piece of equipment. However, since this works a lot like a bank loan, the lease rates depend on your credit rating, and it is notoriously hard for new restaurant owners to get approved for the lease, since a restaurant is a high-risk business.
Consider Scratch-and-Dent Equipment
When food service operators purchase new equipment and it arrives dented or scratched, they sometimes refuse delivery and return the equipment. Although the damage is cosmetic, the manufacturer or store cannot sell the damaged equipment at full price. Instead, the equipment is sold at a discounted price in line with the extent of the damage. If you are on a tight budget, purchasing new scratch-and-dent equipment is a good alternative to buying used.
Look for Closeouts and Overstocked Equipment
End-of-the-year pricing, discontinued items, too much stock and newer, updated models are a few of the reasons why dealers who warehouse their equipment are unable to sell it. Either way, extra or hard-to-sell equipment equates to less-than-new prices. However, if you have a specific model or spec requirements in mind, this is not the best option, because you do not know what is going to be discontinued, updated or overstocked. This is more of a luck-of-the-draw strategy for finding good deals on new restaurant equipment.
Buy New Restaurant Equipment
New restaurant equipment is the best alternative to buying used, and it is superior in every way. It comes with a warranty, is factory inspected and is more energy-efficient than used equipment. The only real drawback is price, but used restaurant equipment may end up costing more in repairs and energy- inefficiency in the end.