Restaurant equipment covers everything from commercial ovens to dining tables, restaurant dishes to ice machines. Deciding what type of restaurant equipment to purchase can be overwhelming for a new restaurant owner.
• New Restaurant Equipment isn’t Always Better. A new restaurant doesn’t necessarily require all new equipment. You can purchase quality used restaurant equipment for pennies on the dollar. Tables, chairs, dishes, utensils are all fine to buy second-hand. Bigger pieces of restaurant equipment, such as stoves, ovens, refrigeration units can often be found for good deals, used.
• Leasing is a Good Option for Restaurant Equipment. Many companies offer leased restaurant equipment, which can save you a lot of money as you get ready to open a new restaurant. Equipment with short life spans, like ice machines, are perfect for a monthly lease. Vendors also offer leased equipment, like coffee makers and coolers, for free, so long as you buy their products.
• Restaurant Dishes Aren’t the Same as Your Kitchen Dishes. Restaurant dishes aren’t cheap, compared to those you can buy at Wal-Mart or Target. But that is because they are made to withstand the rigors of a busy restaurant kitchen dishwasher.
• Restaurant Tables and Chairs are Part of the Décor. Tables and chairs represent a big expense when opening a new restaurant. But like commercial restaurant dishes, they are made to last. The look of your dining room will be heavily influenced by the tables and chairs you choose.
• A Restaurant Kitchen Should be Well Stocked. A restaurant kitchen requires careful planning, to maximize space and promote efficiency. A typical restaurant kitchen is composed of different stations and restaurant equipment. A station is the area where a certain type of food is prepared. Stations help keep a restaurant kitchen running smoothly.
• Restaurant Dining Room Designs Should be Flexible. Setting up your restaurant dining space to be reconfigured is a good idea. It allows you to accommodate larger parties or change the flow of the dining room, if you feel it isn’t working.
• Restaurant Bars Require Their Own Equipment. The set-up of a restaurant bar depends on your restaurant’s size, theme and liquor license. Some bars are service only, meaning it does not serve customers directly; it is just for staff to order drinks.
• There are Many Options for Restaurant Refrigeration. An integral part of restaurant equipment is the refrigeration systems. Restaurant refrigeration ranges from small coolers (like a dorm fridge) to massive walk-in refrigerators and freezers, and everything in between.
•. Tablecloths Require a lot of Maintenance. Few items in a restaurant dining room make a statement the way tablecloths do. Crisply ironed tablecloths and starched linen napkins set a distinctly upscale atmosphere. But they also require constant care and can be expensive to clean, press and replace.
• Catering Equipment can Increase Restaurant Sales. Off-premise catering offers restaurants a chance to expand business beyond their dining rom. However, catering outside of a restaurant requires a lot of attention to detail and organization. You need a certain pieces of commercial equipment to serve food safety and efficiently.
One of the biggest expenses of opening a new restaurant is buying equipment. A $100,000 loan might seem like a lot of money when you are first getting ready to open, but too quickly it can run out. Stoves, ranges, grills and coolers all represent thousands of dollars spent. In addition, much like a new car, these items depreciate the minute they leave the showroom. When you begin shopping around for restaurant equipment, you will soon find out how expensive new pieces are. Selecting gently worn second-hand equipment can save you a lot of money. However, used restaurant equipment does present a few liabilities.
Pros of Buying Used Restaurant Equipment
• Buying used equipment will save you precious start up cash that you can put toward your first food order, payroll, or insurances.
• Due to the high failure of new restaurants (not yours, of course) many second hand pieces of equipment have only been in service for a year or two. If you go to a restaurant auction, do your homework and find out how long the place was open. Examine the appliances, looking for tell tale signs of wear and tear like rust, missing parts, ect. If you are really lucky, you can still get the warranty with a piece that is not too old.
• Haggling. Dealers of used restaurant equipment are often open to price negotiations. If you are good at haggling then don’t be afraid to counter their offer.
• Freebies. If you are buying several pieces of used equipment from the same vendor, ask for a freebie, such as prep table, a mixer or toaster. They may throw it in as a sign of goodwill.
• Warranties, or lack thereof. Used restaurant equipment is usually sold “as is.” Meaning, if you hook it up at the restaurant and it doesn’t work, you’re out of luck. This is the gamble you take when buying used. The good news is that many pieces of restaurant equipment are nearly indestructible. If one small part goes, it is easy to replace.
• Spending more money. If you do buy used equipment that breaks, then you may end up spending more money than if you had just bought it new. However, certain items are better suited to buy used, and have a better chance of working properly for a long time to come.
The following items are all good candidates for buying used:
Gas Ranges and Ovens – Gas ranges have a pretty long life span as far as restaurant equipment goes. If it is missing some knobs don’t fret, they are easily replaced. Electric models are not well suited for restaurants, because of the long time they take to heat up, and they have lots of bits and pieces just waiting to break.
Fryers- Gas is better than electric. You just want to make sure the fryer is calibrated and get the instructions on how to change the oil.
Tableware- Salt and peppershakers, centerpiece vases, dishes, glasses and such can all be purchased second hand with confidence. The only problem you will face is finding pieces that fit with your restaurant décor.