Operating a restaurant means you have to have access to lots of commercial refrigeration equipment and other commercial restaurant equipment items. A standard kitchen won't do, since you need commercial cooking stoves and ovens, fryers, dishwashing machines, refrigerators, and deep freezers. Restaurant equipment includes anything your establishment needs to entertain your diners, from the plates you serve food on to the shelves you house supplies on.
Eventually, these appliances wear out. It costs nearly $100,000 to outfit a standard restaurant with the restaurant equipment needed — including shelving and cutlery, among other necessities — or nearly five times that for a larger full kitchen. While you won't have to buy all your restaurant appliances at once, in most cases, and your restaurant might have many of the equipment items you need, eventually you'll need some commercial appliances.
Should you buy new or used restaurant equipment? You can benefit from doing either option — or even both. Here is a guide to help you decide which option is best for your needs.
Your budget is a leading factor in whether you should get new or used commercial refrigeration and other quality restaurant equipment pieces. If you're new to the restaurant business and starting from scratch or you're building up a kitchen on a budget, then go with used appliances and seating arrangements. As you get used to using commercial equipment and your restaurant starts to turn a profit, you can then upgrade your used and less reliable equipment and buy restaurant equipment that's new.
If you see both a new and a used piece of restaurant equipment and they're similar in price and features, then it's almost always best to go with the newer appliance. Why? Because brand-new restaurant equipment hasn't started to depreciate in both wear and value and typically comes with a warranty.
However, if you see a used version of the same model you're considering new and the used version is much cheaper, then go with the used commercial restaurant equipment and invest the saved money into pieces you can then buy new, such as fine china for dining or brand-new tables and chairs.
You can buy many of your restaurant equipment items used, particularly if you're willing to buy used appliances, but you should never buy any type of restaurant equipment simply because it's cheaper than other varieties on the market. Make sure each piece of restaurant equipment you invest in is something you need to make your business more successful.