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Points to Note Before Buying Used Commercial Kitchen Equipment

Aparna Iyer Sep 29, 2018
Buying used commercial kitchen equipment is a cost-effective solution. However, the following points have to be borne in mind before investing your time, toil, and money. Know why kitchen equipment that change hands may serve to be a good bet.
Starting a restaurant business involves making the requisite investment in leasing a suitable site for the restaurant, analyzing the competitive strategy, and purchasing the necessary kitchen equipment. Buying kitchen equipment is very different from purchasing kitchen equipment for the house.
The difference can be attributed to the sheer volume of food that has to be prepared in a restaurant. Commercial kitchen equipment are voluminous, durable, and consequently more expensive. Restaurant owners generally prefer leasing the equipment, or buying used commercial kitchen equipment rather than investing in new equipment.

The Advantages

Warming drawers, cooking ranges, ovens, grills, bakery and dough equipment, cookware and kitchen tools, food processors and mixers, wire shelving and food storage containers, walk-in freezers, commercial sinks and dishwashers, are the essential commercial kitchen equipment. The shared attribute of these heavy-duty equipment is their durability.


Generally, prospective restaurant owners can buy a marginally used commercial kitchen equipment for a fraction of the price of new equipment. A refurbished unit, of course, is much cheaper. However, before buying a reconditioned unit, one has to ensure that the seller is trustworthy, and the unit conforms to the standards of quality.
For instance, a marginally used commercial combination convection oven can be purchased for 1/5th of the price of a new oven. The reason for having to pay a much lower price for used equipment, can be attributed to the short depreciable life of kitchen equipment.


Generally, used (restaurant) kitchen equipment also come with a warranty, since durability or the ability to withstand improper handling is one of the most important features of commercial kitchen equipment.

Before the Buy

Past Performance

One should try and delve into the performance history of the product in order to ensure that the equipment is not being sold at a cheaper price on account of malfunction. For instance, a used convection oven may have been removed from a functional restaurant because it was a fire hazard.
Walk-in freezers, that may have caused frequent power outages due to overheating, may have been disposed off by the previous owner. An aspiring restaurant owner should not end up buying damaged equipment.

Know the Seller

Before you buy kitchen equipment, make sure that you are fairly acquainted with the seller. It, indeed, makes a lot of difference, if you share a comfortable rapport with him. More often than not, you derive a fair deal. Now, this does not mean, the seller controls your buying transaction.
If you are not convinced, better not buy the equipment. In the name of 'good rapport', don't let sales talk sell you a product you neither need nor are you too convinced to buy. Buyers, often fall into the trap and end up with everything else but a square deal.

Look for the Brand

When you buy new, you may not be able to afford a brand; however, this precisely is where you score a cent, while buying used commercial equipment. A secondhand buy gives you a chance to purchase a top brass, without worrying too much about the cost.
A branded equipment, in most cases, won't ditch you half-way your cooking spree; instead, it would work toward enhancing your culinary wizardry. Traulsen, Stero, Garland, and Wittco, to name a few, are a definite find when you intend to buy used kitchen equipment for commercial purpose.

Span of Usage

Buying used equipment, in the remotest of sense, mustn't be a matter of compromise. You should be convinced, and the equipment should serve your convenience; there is no room for compromise here. Settling for equipment that has grossed beyond three years is never a good idea.
Attending an auction with a technician, whose word you trust, often finds you a feasible buy. If the equipment -- from the look of it -- is well maintained being gently used over a period, consult your technician, and wrap up the deal. Auctions, thus, are far better than soft markets, where dupery, more than product selling, may be the issue.

Used Electric Equipment ... Not Advised

Purchasing a used electric equipment, generally, is not suggested. This is due to the fact that an electric equipment anatomically is far complex than gas-governed equipment. There is ample wiring involved, and there is a chance of incurring a fault.
An experienced technician frequenting to check and eliminate the risk of the equipment going kaput would be a must. Besides, securing your safety is most important.

Aim Quality, Not Appearance

Your kitchen, certainly looks way inviting when you have it equipped with classy and efficient models of kitchenware. However, if you are looking for kitchenware that does not weigh down the wallet, opt for 'cosmetically defective' models.
There are times when kitchen operators aren't very happy with what they receive, simply due to a dent here and a bump there. They are termed rejected and rallied back to where they came from -- the dealer, or the manufacturer. There is nothing functionally wrong with the equipment, it is just the aesthetic feature due to which the product bore the brunt.
Due to the product being rejected, the dealer will sell the equipment at a subsidized rate than the original price. This would prove advantageous an opportunity for you. You get a budgetized product that works just fine. Besides, if the purpose is served, you mustn't bother about a dent or two.

Present Condition

In case the product is being purchased from a restaurant owner, it would be sensible to inspect the product and see it being used in order to ensure that the product is not being sold off because it is defective.

Safety Norms

The dealer, from whom the equipment is purchased, should be trust worthy and should carry National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) approved equipment.
NSF approval is based on product design, ease with which the product can be cleaned, and the toxicology report of the material that is used to manufacture the equipment. If the equipment is NSF approved, one can be sure that it conforms to the safety norms.
It may not be possible for a restaurant owner to assess all these factors before purchasing used commercial kitchen equipment. Hence, it may be advisable to purchase or lease new equipment after making the necessary arrangements for equipment financing.