Restaurant equipment consists of everything from ice machines to commercial ovens, from dining tables to restaurant dishes or even sinks. Buying material for a new restaurant or replacing old/faulty ones can be a big undertaking. Deciding what type of equipment to purchase can be overwhelming especially if this it’s your first restaurant.
If money is tight and you are hoping to spend less, you may want to consider purchasing second-hand equipment. While this can sometimes be a risky step to take, if well handled, second-hand equipment can help your business take off and make enough money for you to start investing on newer and top-rated equipment later on.
Below are 5 tips on how to purchase second-hand restaurant equipment.
1. Plan Your Menu
One of the most common mistakes that people do when buying restaurant equipment is wasting money on things that you most likely won’t even need. To help avoid this, before you create your shopping list, ensure that you first plan your menu. This way, you will know exactly what type of equipment you need and what you don’t really need.
2. Make a Budget and Stick to It
When you are looking to buy second-hand materials, it is evident that saving money is the primary goal. Therefore, it is very important to create a budget and ensure that you stick to it.
Try and find a balance between quality and what you can afford. While of course, higher quality equipment is better and will always help you produce better quality food, you don’t want to buy top of the line products while some standard ones will work almost similarly.
Determine which equipment pieces are more important than others and then try to emphasize on those ones first.
3. Measure Your Space
This seems obvious but it is still important. When purchasing second-hand restaurant equipment, make sure that what you intend to buy will fit in the space you have.
Unfortunately, a lot of buyers tend to buy equipment without first measuring their space, only to find that it does not fit properly where they intended it to be placed.
When measuring, make sure that you also take into account your doorways measurements so as to know whether the equipment will be able to enter your building.
4. Look for the ENERGY STAR Label
It’s no secret that when buying second-hand kitchen equipment, you’ll meet up with a lot of sellers who will claim that their equipment is top rated. The easiest way to accurately identify the most reliable and cost-effective products is by looking for the blue ENERGY STAR label.
Equipment or products with these labels have a higher chance of performing well and also provide long-term savings to your restaurant. The ENERGY STAR label can be found somewhere on the equipment label itself or its original packaging.
It signifies that the equipment has passed the standard requirements defined by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and that it is also suitable for use in a commercial kitchen.
While it is not a must that you buy equipment with this label, looking for one that has the label will significantly lower the chances of you buying faulty second-hand restaurant equipment.
5. Test the Product First Before Buying
Purchasing any second-hand equipment always has the risk of it being damaged or not working as expected. This can result in confrontations with the seller who may end up claiming that the equipment was not faulty when he sold it to you.
To avoid such grievances and unnecessary frustrations, ensure that you fully test the second-hand equipment you are thinking of purchasing.
Don’t just run a simple on and off test; make sure to tell the seller to run a full test as if he was using the equipment on a normal working day.