Tips for Buying Used Restaurant Kitchen Equipment at an Auction

Tips for Buying Used Restaurant Kitchen Equipment at an Auction

Auctions are ideal for finding a variety of kitchen equipment for your restaurant. The options are nearly endless, but before you partake in the excitement that is an auction, you need to keep a few tips in mind. Restaurant auctions are not for the inexperienced, but with some helpful pointers and perhaps the assistance of a veteran auction participant, you can walk away with an almost fully equipped restaurant kitchen.

Before the Auction

  • •   Create a reasonable budget to use on auction day. Budgets are set for a reason, and even though you are purchasing used equipment, frivolous spending can transform your attempt at saving money to buying less pristine equipment for the price of brand new.
  • •   Research the reputation of the auction house. The length an auction house has been in business is usually a good indicator of reputation and quality of available equipment at their auctions.
  • •   Check the purpose of the auction, it is usually one of the following:
    •  o   Restaurant failure or liquidation auctions are the result of a business that closed.
    •  o   Equipment replacement auctions have items that have been replaced in a business by an upgraded piece of equipment
    •  o   Dead inventory auctions are full of items that are broken or missing pieces that couldn’t – or wouldn’t – get replaced easily.
  • •   Know your kitchen before going to the auction. You don’t want to buy an oven that won’t fit in your designated space or a piece of equipment that exceeds your voltage capacity.

At the Auction

  • •   Look for equipment that is coming from a restaurant for a short amount of time or from a restaurant that didn’t have the equipment very long (they may have quickly upgraded their oven, refrigerator, etc.).
  • •   Remember that these items are sold AS IS. No one will fix, clean, or otherwise improve the equipment after you purchase it.
  • •   If the kitchen equipment you are looking at has a funny smell or is relatively dirty, think twice about making the bid. That smell could be indicative of a larger problem, like insufficient cooling or consistent power failures.

The Final Takeaway

  • Make sure you do your research, whether it is about the restaurant supplying the equipment, the auction house in charge of dispersing the items, or your intended destination for the restaurant kitchen equipment. You can never be too prepared going into an auction.