- Restaurant equipment that is in good condition can be purchased and used to save significant money.
- You can find used equipment at your local restaurant equipment store, online or in-person auctions, or through your online community. Each location has its advantages and disadvantages.
- You don’t have to be picky or are short on time, you can use auctions and your online network to find used equipment for restaurants.
The cooking equipment is what makes the foodservice industry go ’round. Many commercial restaurant equipment can be very expensive. These items, which include fryers, dishwashers, display cases, and everything in between can really impact your operating budget. You can cut costs by looking for used equipment in restaurants.
Commercial kitchens have many items that can withstand a lot of abuse and still function well. You can save big and make more profit by buying used.
You can find many, if not all of the items you need in your kitchen secondhand. Where should you look first? Let’s talk about the best places to buy used. We’ll discuss what you should look for in that auction or store and what items restaurant owners should only purchase new.
Many commercial kitchen equipment shops sell used equipment. These are trustworthy places to purchase larger or more important items for a few reasons.
- Visit it in person: It is a great way to see the products in person. If you are looking for used countertops or tabletops that match the decor of your restaurant’s interior, it is a good idea to see them in person.
- Get involved with your staff: You can bring your kitchen staff along to find out what they enjoy the most. For example, chefs may be very particular about the equipment they prefer, such as a prep table or reach-in refrigerator.
- Protect your items with a warranty. Many brick-and-mortar shops offer warranties for used items. This is especially important when you are purchasing expensive electronic items such as commercial ovens or commercial refrigerators.
Brick-and-mortar shops have one major problem: you are limited to what they have in their showroom. You can’t always see what you want so you have to go to other stores until either you find it or you run out of options. This can be tedious. You may be lucky enough to strike it rich, but you also run the risk that you will come back empty-handed.
You may also end up with an assortment of products from different manufacturers. This may not be a problem, but some people prefer to have items that match.
Consignment is a great way to bargain with store owners. If you make a bulk purchase, they will usually give you a discount. This can help you get a great deal.
Online stores for used restaurant equipment
It is easy to search online if you know what you are looking for. You may spend hours trying to find a particular type of pizza oven, grill, or ice maker in a physical shop.
Online shopping can save you a lot of time if you aren’t too picky. Online shopping can be a great way to save time and find the right model for you.
Online stores have two disadvantages compared to brick and mortar stores.
- It won’t be possible to bargain a price.
- The item will not be available for inspection for wear and tear.
Refurbished Restaurant Equipment Auctions
Restaurants that go out of business often offer their equipment for consignment. This can lead to an auction. This can save a lot of time, especially for new chefs. These auctions can be an easy and affordable way to purchase high-end matching equipment. You might be the only bidder on an item, and you could walk away with a bargain.
These auctions are held in small towns as well as large cities all over the country. If you buy all of the used kitchen equipment from the auction in one transaction, you can save quite a bit. This can result in net positives such as a matching set of flatware or cutlery.
Advice for auction
You can find out how often the equipment has been used by doing some research. What was the average age of the restaurant? What was their total business?
It’s likely that you’ll be better off buying expensive equipment from a restaurant that has only been open for a few months. A restaurant that hasn’t been open for a while may have equipment that is in better condition than one that did.
Restaurant auctions have one downside. The equipment is sold as-is, without warranty from the dealer or any option for return. You are responsible for replacing or repairing any deli slicers or meat grinders that break soon.
Sometimes you may be able to get equipment that is new enough to still be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. You’ve struck it lucky.
Here are some tips for attending an auction.
- Do not rush: Take your time and inspect the items before the auction starts. You should look for signs of wear such as rust, discoloration, or odors.
- Create a budget: Set a budget and follow it. It is easy to spend more on unnecessary purchases simply because they appear affordable.
- Avoid crowds: The smaller the crowd, the better deals. Prices will remain low if there are fewer bidders.
- Pay attention to the details: Do your research and find out where the equipment came from. It is possible that the equipment was purchased from an older restaurant that has failed. Another positive scenario is when the equipment was purchased from a restaurant that suddenly became very successful and had to quickly upgrade its equipment.
- Measurements: Make sure to have your measurements. It would be sad to find out that a gas range you bought at an auction doesn’t fit into your kitchen.
- Do not get attached: Be prepared to walk away. You are not obligated to bid if an item is beyond your budget. You can save your money for another day.
What should you buy at an auction?
Equipment that is resistant to wear and tear should be avoided. These are some examples of safe items to buy at auctions:
- Stainless steel work tables
- Faucets and sinks for commercial use
- Stands for equipment
- Smallwares like cooking utensils
- Furniture such as dining chairs and barstools
- Shelving and storage units
- Flatware and dishes
- Gas ranges
Auctions: Be careful
Avoid expensive and more delicate items (such as those that have moving parts or use electricity) because they are more susceptible to wear. Some examples include:
- Commercial ovens
- Ice cream makers
- Commercial ice machines
- Drink dispensers
- Slicers for deli meat
- Meat grinders
- Commercial refrigeration units
- Convection ovens
- Steam tables
These items should not be excluded from your consideration. However, it is important that you inspect them thoroughly before you bid on them. If you are concerned about the condition of your Hobart deep-fryer or Vulcan charcoal broiler, don’t hesitate to ask. There won’t be any dealer warranty. It’s up to you to decide if they’re long-term viable.
Online auctions have both advantages and disadvantages.
It is impossible to inspect equipment in person. This can make it difficult to decide what equipment you want. You won’t also be able to inspect the item for wear and tear (like corrosion) that isn’t shown in the photos.
If you don’t know what you want or you aren’t picky about it, you can save money by buying equipment online. It doesn’t matter what type of ice maker or toaster you have. An online auction might be your best option.
Online auctions should be reserved for items that don’t make up the core of your kitchen. Online auctions are not able to guarantee the condition of your items, but they can provide some great opportunities for finding interesting pieces or filling in gaps.
These are some things you should consider when you participate in an online auction.
- Do not bid too low. Bidding low doesn’t always work. Instead, bid as close as you can for the item. This will discourage other bidders to jump in on your offer and increase your chances of winning.
- Use “maximum bid”: Many websites offer an automated function that will allow you to enter the maximum price you are willing to pay for an item. Great if you win. Don’t spend more than you can afford.
- Keep active: If you are serious about winning an item, be sure to pay attention to the auction. If you wait until the end, it is possible to place incrementally higher bids than the previous one and win the auction.
- Use mind games to help you think. This option can be used for items that you are really interested in. They may feel frustrated if they have to bid immediately after another bidder and give up.
- Don’t be afraid to walk away. If you don’t have enough money or the item is getting too many bidders then it’s time to throw in your towel. You will see more auctions in the future.
Your Local Online Community
Craigslist and Facebook can be great places to find used equipment, as well as other items. Facebook Marketplace has a lot of kitchen equipment for sale. Search in your local area to find what you are looking for.
As any restaurant operator or owner will tell you, finding the right kitchen equipment is a difficult task. The equipment you purchase should be a sound investment that will yield good returns over the years. We also offer new and used restaurant equipment in San Antonio.
Main Auction Services, Inc. is a family owned and operated company bringing more than 35 years of combined experience in the restaurant, food service and related industries to the internet sales marketplace. Main Auction Services offers a wide variety of quality, new and used restaurant equipment, kitchen supplies, appliances, furniture and decor.