Clean stainless steel surfaces in a commercial kitchen

Olivia MarcyBuying An Ice Machine, Refrigeration, Restaurants & Commercial Kitchens, Small Business

How to Choose Between Used and New Restaurant Equipment

Whether you’re looking to set up your first commercial kitchen or you’re an established business looking to replace existing equipment, you’ve probably asked yourself, “wait, should I buy new or used restaurant equipment?” 

To help clear the confusion, we’re here to make it easy for you to choose the right appliances for your business. 

When Should You Replace Restaurant Equipment?

It’s hard to know the right time to cut the cord on existing restaurant equipment. Is it worth investing in one more repair in the hope it’ll buy you another year, or will something else go wrong before you get your money’s worth?

"When it comes to restaurant equipment, the bottom line is if the repair exceeds 50% of the equipment’s value, it’s time to let it go." 

As a general rule, the average life expectancy for commercial equipment is 10 years. Repair costs after this time usually start to increase in cost and frequency. Even well-kept commercial appliances will break down over time, and after 10 years you’re at risk for expensive components like condensers and evaporators that need repairs or replacement.

Related: How to Recycle Old Refrigerators, Freezers, and Other Appliances

Benefits of Buying Used Restaurant Equipment

You can pick up good quality restaurant equipment on the used appliance market. If you’re patient and know where to look, it’s easy to score like-new commercial refrigerators, ice machines, ranges, and other equipment from restaurants that have closed.

If you know what to look for, used appliances can save you hundreds of dollars compared to new equipment. But watch out for lemons—it’s easy to pour money down an endless pit of repairs before realizing you could’ve bought new for the same price. 

Save On Your Initial Investment

Used equipment is a smart way to save money when you’re a new restaurant owner with lots of expenses piling up. Appliances are expensive, and when you’re setting up a commercial kitchen, you can expect to put a good portion of your budget toward reach-in refrigerators, freezers, commercial ice machines, prep tables, coolers, and oven ranges. Buying used commercial equipment can help you get the most bang for your buck. 

Flexible Pricing

Buying used equipment from an individual seller sometimes means you can negotiate the price down if you aren’t afraid to flex your haggling muscles. The best approach is to research the value of the appliance you’re buying, know your highest bid, and stick to it.

All The Perks Of New Equipment

If you buy used or refurbished restaurant equipment from an authorized dealer, you can often get warranties for parts, repair, and service that are usually associated with new appliances. Don’t forget to ask the sales representative if your purchase qualifies for warranties, or if you can opt into an on-site maintenance program. 

Should I Buy Used Restaurant Equipment?

Buying used commercial appliances is a good fit for people who:

    • Have a strict budget and need to keep costs down
    • Have time to educate themselves on buying used equipment the right way
    • Don’t have a hard buying deadline and can shop around for a good deal
    • Are comfortable being hands-on (that means negotiating, but also may mean being involved in the delivery and installation process, too)

Related: We’re Your Commercial Refrigeration Repair Experts

Benefits of Buying New Restaurant Equipment

Every restaurant owner loves to see a shiny new appliance installed in their kitchen. What you might not like is the price tag associated with it. Smart business owners know, though, that restaurant appliances are investments in your business’s efficiency, productivity, and future growth.

Make Your Money Back On Utilities

Restaurant equipment manufacturers are always innovating and making more energy efficient units. You may not realize how much your old ice machine, refrigerator, or freezer weighed down your utility bill until you replace it with a newer, more energy-efficient model. You’d be surprised how quickly you can make your money back on utilities with a new piece of equipment. 

No Immediate Repair Expenses

With even the most careful used equipment purchase, there’s still the risk that a repair is just around the corner and you could be on the hook for an expensive bill. It’s unlikely that new equipment will need a repair in the near future, and has warranties and guarantees as a safety net to protect you from a surprise expense. 

Get Exactly What You Need

With new equipment, you have the advantage of being very particular about what you want. You don’t have to settle for what the used market has available at the time. Instead, you can purchase the unit that meets all your criteria, and have all your needs met. 

Get The Experts On Your Side

When you buy a new kitchen appliance, you have an invaluable resource in the sales representative you work with. They know kitchen appliances like the back of their hand, and can identify the one that checks all your boxes. If you aren’t sure what you need, they can help you identify what you need and point you toward the unit that will get the job done. 

Should I Buy New Restaurant Equipment?

Buying new commercial appliances is a good fit for people who:

    • Are well-established in the industry and are ready to invest in the long-term
    • Want to save money on utilities and move toward an eco-friendly business model
    • Know exactly what they want in their appliances
    • Need expert guidance on which model to purchase
    • Want a warranty for repairs, replacement, and maintenance 
    • Want to develop a relationship with a local distributor 
    • Don’t want to worry about repairs in the near future

Memphis Ice Machine Company: The MidSouth's Full-Service Distributor for Commercial Refrigeration & Repair Service

Building a relationship with a local distributor is a great asset for restaurants. You’ll have the benefit of expert repair technicians, easily accessible parts, and expert advice right in your own backyard. If you’re a business, bar, or restaurant in the MidSouth, we’d love to be your local partner for all things related to commercial refrigeration. Schedule a call to ask our experts a question, get a quote, or chat with us!

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