Equipment and supplies for a new restaurant will form a substantial part of your startup budget, but you can save money by buying some of these goods used. You do have to do your due diligence—get guarantees and warranties, have the equipment inspected or purchase it from a reputable dealer, and so on. Other than that, though, there are some pieces of commercial restaurant equipment that work just as well used as they do new, and that ability helps conserve your budget.
Storage, Display, and Prep Tables and Carts
Barring wonky wheels and uneven legs, your prep tables, rolling carts and stands, and display racks can all be bought used. You just have to be sure they all are stable and, in the case of rolling carts, won't suddenly veer off and hit something as you push them. These have no motorized parts and, as they're usually made of metal, no major defects that could grow over time. These are perfect for buying used because there's not much that can go wrong that wouldn't also be an issue with new equipment in this category.
You'd think messing with gas appliances wouldn't be a good idea, but gas ovens and ranges are among the better items to buy used. Dummies.com notes it's the electrical appliances that can be troublesome, so if you want an electric range for whatever reason, go for new for that. Also gas grills and fryers are generally fine to buy used but require more detailed inspection and calibration — and a guarantee from the seller.
The Smaller Stuff, Within Reason
You can buy most of the smaller items used, like tableware and linens like tablecloths, but again, be careful. Cooking implements like knives and cleavers should either be new or bought used from a trusted source. Linens should have been laundered thoroughly and sanitized or disinfected. Cloth napkins should be new; the mental image of using "someone else's napkin" in a restaurant, even if the napkin is clean, is not appetizing. Small appliances can be a tossup; the wiring can be old and questionable without you knowing, so unless you have a trusted source, new small appliances might give you the best peace of mind.
There's nothing wrong with buying things new. However, buying used equipment offers you a way to conserve those precious initial funds and have a bigger safety net as you get your restaurant up and running.Share