Opening a new restaurant is costly, and there are many ways to deal with the expenses. Buying used equipment is one of the options for many new business owners since second-hand kitchen machinery tends to be more affordable, and the price range makes it an appealing choice for many aspiring restaurant owners. Even though “used commercial kitchen equipment vs. new commercial kitchen equipment” is an ongoing discussion in the sector, it is possible to lay out the facts and compare the two based on their merits and shortcomings. Both options have their pros and cons, and while used equipment can be beneficial under certain circumstances, new equipment tends to come on top in comparison in general.
Should You Buy Used or New Commercial Kitchen Equipment?
Setting up a restaurant kitchen requires a wide selection of machines, and acquiring all you need can cost you a great deal. Used or second-hand commercial kitchen equipment refers to appliances and items used before and now up for sale. On the other hand, new commercial kitchen equipment is fresh out of the factory for you with many guarantees.
Used Commercial Kitchen Equipment Pros
There are many advantages to buying used commercial kitchen equipment.
- Cost: They cost less than new products, and cheaper price points reduce the upfront costs in the initial stages of starting a new business.
- Little-Used Equipment: Finding almost brand-new machines on the market is also possible. The turnover rate is quite high in the commercial restaurant sector, and with some luck, you might find a brand-new product for a lesser price.
- Chance to Invest in Other Areas: It could help your budget and let you invest in other areas. Commercial kitchen equipment is usually the most expensive investment, and lightening the load in this area could allow you to allocate your money to further purchases.
- Affordable Brands: High-quality brands can become more accessible through second-hand shopping. While it is not an absolute must, you might be inclined to purchase from famous brands, and buying used equipment could save you some money and let you buy from brands that might have been otherwise hard to afford.
Used Commercial Kitchen Equipment Cons
While the benefits are quite nice used equipment also has disadvantages that should not be overlooked.
- No Warranty: Warranties are crucial documents to have in the early years of a business. Thanks to warranties, brands offer support in malfunctions and emergencies, and used equipment usually does not come with one. Without the warranty, you will have to pay for repairs yourself.
- Customer Service: The seller might not be reliable and not disclose all the aspects of the equipment. Commercial kitchen equipment products are complicated, and it could be difficult to spot issues with the machinery unless you are a true professional. When you are buying a used product, you are taking a chance. So, make sure to do thorough research before settling on your purchase and investigate the machine carefully before paying for it.
- Outdated Equipment: Used equipment is usually obsolete equipment. In an age of rapid technological improvements, falling behind could cost you in terms of money, quality, and efficiency. It would also be difficult to find the parts and accessories.
- Hygiene: Hygiene is an important consideration in commercial kitchens. Not only are you cooking food, but you are serving it to many customers daily. Your kitchen needs to be up to code and as clean as possible. Used equipment might have rust or similar issues. Ensure the equipment is clean and in compliance with the health code standards.
- Repair Costs: While the initial cost is lower, repair costs might emerge in the long term. With second-hand machinery, there is no telling what might happen. When your commercial kitchen equipment is old, you might need to pay regularly for repairs and maintenance.
- Appearance: The equipment might not look its best in terms of appearance. One of the main factors that lower the price of decent second-hand products is cosmetic issues. While this might not be a big problem in the kitchen, it could look unprofessional if the product is used in a visible and available area to customers.
- Time: The products you are searching for might not be readily available in second-hand market platforms, and waiting for them to be available can cost you time.
New Commercial Kitchen Equipment Pros
New products have many benefits compared to their used counterparts.
- Variety: With new products, you have a wide selection and are not bound to the choices sold in your area.
- Warranty: They come with a warranty covering you for a long time as you establish your business and also come with customer support which can be beneficial in case of any issue.
- Latest Technology: New products are manufactured with the latest technology in mind, so they are more energy-efficient, which helps you save money on utility bills in the long run.
- Financing Options: When you buy new equipment, you can benefit from financing options to improve your cash flow while managing your budget.
- Customer Service: New commercial equipment distributors are established and reliable sellers. If you run into any issues, you will have someone to communicate with, and you won’t need to worry about hidden problems that might arise.
- Dealers’ Available Services: When you buy new commercial kitchen equipment, you can also benefit from the dealer’s other services, such as consultation, design, and layout, as well as related to trending issues, including instant rebates when buying Energy Star equipment.
- Food Safety & Hygiene: New equipment is easy to maintain, which can help with food safety and hygiene. They are more reliable and less likely to break down or malfunction, which can save on repair and maintenance costs.
- Compatible with Local Codes: You will easily pass health code inspections with your new equipment since it has been unused and cared for by you since you purchased it. There are no surprises.
- Staff Safety: New equipment is designed with the latest safety features, which can help to protect employees and customers.
- Efficiency: They can be more efficient and faster, which can help to improve productivity and increase profits.
- Easy to Use: New equipment is easier to use, making your employees more efficient and helping to reduce training costs.
- Durable: They are more durable than used equipment, and a longer lifespan is a big perk of new products.
New Commercial Kitchen Equipment Cons
Despite the glowing perks, buying new equipment has a few downsides.
- Initial Costs: Initial costs are usually high with new products, which could overwhelm new business owners. However, consider financing restaurant equipment if you struggle with creating a budget plan.
- Managing Budget: You might have less budget for other categories if you pay high prices for commercial kitchen products. These items are usually all essentials; you can’t give up on any of them and invest in other aspects of your business.
Used or New Commercial Kitchen Equipment?
When you compare the pros and cons of these two options, new equipment comes out on top due to its abundance of perks. While it is no surprise that new is better, it is still challenging to make a decision. Even though it is one of the very few cons, it is hard to ignore the price points of new products. Budget is one of the, if not the top, factors in making decisions in the early stages of starting a business. However, this shortcoming is relatively easy to remedy. There are several ways you could lighten the negative effect of this disadvantage.
- Many banks are willing to offer generous loans to new entrepreneurs at relatively low-interest rates.
- If bank loans aren’t for you, you could always opt for restaurant financing and purchase your equipment with affordable monthly installments. You can learn more about this path in our article on the subject.
- You could alternate between used and new equipment. You could invest in new products for the most important items in your kitchen and opt for used ones for less significant ones.
- You could lease the seasonal or less frequently used pieces instead of buying them. This could save you some money and space.
Setting up a commercial kitchen from scratch can take time and effort. New equipment is generally the better choice for many reasons, such as quality and reliability. Still, under the right circumstances (finding good new products from reliable sellers, preferably with warranties), you could invest in used products too. While the prices could look scary initially, there are many ways to manage your budget, and there is no reason to be afraid! Good luck creating your kitchen with the best equipment ever!