If you're considering opening your own restaurant, you probably already know that the risks are significant. Startup costs are high in the restaurant business, and the industry as a whole can be notoriously fickle. However, strategies exist to keep initial costs down so that new entrepreneurs can get off to the best possible start. For instance, not every piece of restaurant kitchen equipment has to be purchased brand new -- but neither should you automatically buy everything used. Following are four things you should take into consideration when deciding between new and used items.
Have the Items Been Reconditioned? Reconditioned equipment may be a better bargain than their as-is counterparts. Some restaurant supply retailers have in-house employees who recondition equipment before putting it up for sale. An added bonus to buying reconditioned items is that retailers who provide this service have staff who can perform repairs.
Are They Top Brand Items? Although it may be tempting to purchase off-brand equipment because it comes with an appealing price tag, this approach can be a recipe for disaster. Off-brand equipment often isn't manufactured with the same attention to quality as top brand items, and they are therefore more likely to break down or wear out. Another negative factor involved in purchasing off-brand equipment is that it may be impossible to obtain replacement parts in the event of a serious malfunction, and finding repair services may also pose a challenge.
Where Did the Equipment Come From? If possible, find out the history of any equipment that you're interested in buying. One of the advantages of purchasing used restaurant equipment is that most restaurants actually have a fairy short shelf life, meaning that there's a lot of lightly used commercial kitchen items on the market. Your restaurant kitchen equipment retailer should be able to tell you the history of items you're interested in as well as provide you with applicable service records. Play it safe and stick with newer equipment that has only had one previous owner. Keep in mind that just like with off-brand equipment, you may have trouble finding replacement parts for older equipment.
Is It Energy Star Certified? Restaurant equipment that is Energy Star certified will save you money over time in utility costs and will have the added benefit of lightening your overall carbon footprint. As far as long terms savings, you'll probably be better off buying a brand new Energy Star item than its non–Energy Star counterpart. For more information on making wise restaurant equipment purchasing decisions, please feel free to contact your local restaurant kitchen equipment retailer at your convenience.