Should You Buy Used Equipment for Your Food Business?

You’ve decided the shared kitchen model isn’t for you, and you’re buying your first kitchen equipment. Congratulations! You’re soon to be the proud owner of a lot of stainless steel, gas hoses, and pilot lights. Because the food world has such speedy turnover, you may be coming across used equipment in your search. Auctions, liquidations, and other quick sales from old food businesses are a great way to find used equipment that is in good shape. But used kitchen equipment isn’t for everyone, so we’ve put together some tips for help guide your search.

When to buy new equipment

Deciding whether to buy new or used equipment is heavily dependent on what type of equipment you’re looking for. As this Kinnek piece points out, there are a few categories of equipment you should always splurge and get new: fryers and cooling equipment. Fryers are hugely risky to buy used, as a worn fryer can put your entire facility in danger of a fire. And refrigeration equipment doesn’t travel well, doesn’t usually age well, and is pricey when you need to replace parts. If you can, spend the money to find these pieces new. You’ll likely receive a warranty, which can reduce future repair costs and give you some much-needed piece of mind.

When to buy used equipment

Are you an equipment expert, or do you know someone who is? Being able to thoroughly inspect used equipment increases the chances that you’ll make a smart purchase. It’s not always obvious when kitchen equipment is in good or bad shape – only the internal mechanisms can tell you. Your local equipment repair company can inspect potential equipment for you and give you an honest assessment of the life expectancy.

As this Balance article points out, electrical equipment often ages worse than gas, so choose gas equipment whenever possible. Like when buying a used car, get as much information as possible from the seller in order to make an informed decision. Weigh the value against the potential future costs (repairs, lost productivity if it fails, energy inefficiency), and make a decision that makes sense for your business.

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