Guide to Buying Used Restaurant Equipment

Guide to Buying Used Restaurant Equipment

Embarking on any business venture requires a small fortune of money, and the restaurant industry is no exception. The cost of equipment alone can run entrepreneurs anywhere from $100,000 to upwards of $500,000, according to the Houston Chronicle

While you may dream of purchasing all new, stainless steel fryers, ovens, and refrigerators, you can find top tier equipment for the fraction of the price at industry auctions. Sometimes equipment is gently used, other times you can find floor models from stores or brand-new pieces that have been replaced by recently upgraded versions. You don’t necessarily have to buy all used equipment, but your dollar will go further and provide you with more start up cash. Ask for a spec sheet on the piece of equipment, too. Most of the time sellers or auction houses will be able to tell you where the equipment came from and if any pieces are missing or non-functional, which is often a small expense in comparison to buying a completely new unit.

Some items are worth buying new, especially if you can get a manufacturer’s warranty. However, there are some pieces of equipment that are certainly worth researching and buying used:

    • Gas Ranges, ovens, and fryers are built to last. Sometimes businesses give theirs up because knobs or trays are missing or broken. You can save a ton by purchasing these items used and spend a marginal amount on making the necessary repairs.


    • Small equipment like stockpots and frying pans are safe to buy secondhand. The best part about this kind of equipment is that all the pieces don’t have to match. You can save a bundle by mixing and matching pots and pans that are only slightly used.


    • Glassware and silverware are great finds if you come across a mostly complete set. Buying these used is an even better idea if having consistent silverware, plates, and glasses is not a priority for you.


  • Tables and setting can be refinished or reupholstered to give them new life. Look at the actual structure of the furniture when you are buying it – cosmetics can always be changed.

Be sure to check out liquidation auctions for great, used restaurant equipment. These items are often priced to sell since the sellers’ ultimate goal is liquidating assets.