Last Updated On: February 9, 2021.
Restaurant equipment consists of everything from ice machines to commercial ovens, dining tables, dishes, sinks, and more. 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 to increase the chance of your restaurant succeeding. 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 in newer equipment later.
Here are five simple tips to help you.
1. Plan your menu
One of the most common mistakes that people do when buying restaurant equipment is wasting money on equipment they most likely won’t need.
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.
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. 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 spend most on them.
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.
When measuring, make sure that you also take into account the measurements of your doorway so you 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 find a lot of sellers who 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 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 before buying
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 unnecessary frustrations, ensure that you fully test the second-hand equipment before buying it.
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.
Here’s a video of a shop owner buying second-hand equipment.