Long-term Savings: Why You’ll Come Out Ahead Buying New Restaurant Equipment
It can be one of the toughest decisions when starting a food service business or replacing older restaurant equipment: Should you buy new or used equipment? The instant gratification part of your brain tells you it’s an easy choice – that used piece may be hundreds of dollars cheaper. But the reality is, there are very few circumstances in which you’ll come out ahead over the long term by purchasing pieces someone else has likely already gotten the best years out of.
In reality, the higher-upfront cost of buying a new piece of kitchen equipment will likely be washed out pretty quickly by some of the challenges a used equipment purchase is prone to bring with it. Only you can decide what’s best for you and your situation, but here are some reasons why buying new is likely to pay off.
Benefit No. 1: Reduced Equipment Maintenance Needs and Costs
Just like any complex machine, the more a piece of kitchen equipment is run, the more maintenance it’s likely to need as parts wear out. When you buy used restaurant equipment, there’s a good chance you’ll have to call your service company out earlier and more frequently than you would with a new unit. That could cost you hundreds of dollars per issue. Add to that the fact replacement parts for older units may not be as readily available and, therefore, may cost more, and you could quickly pay more for what you first thought was a cheaper piece.
Benefit No. 2: A Longer and More Comprehensive Warranty
Given those potential issues with a used piece, it’s easy to see why a warranty would come in handy. Likewise, it’s easy to see why you’re not likely to get one or why any you did get would likely be extremely limited. With new restaurant equipment, you’ll probably get a manufacturer’s warranty of somewhere between one year and a lifetime that protects the kitchen product from potential failures. That’s considerable peace of mind and could mean huge savings should problems arise.
Benefit No. 3: New Restaurant Equipment is Likely to Work Much Better
This is somewhat connected to the first benefit, but has a direct impact on the quality of the product you’re offering your customers. As an example, commercial griddles can develop hot spots over time as portions of the heating element fail or other parts lose their calibration and overheat. That could mean burnt food, product loss, and unhappy customers. Having just rolled off the manufacturing line, new pieces aren’t likely to have those problems and, if they do, they’ll probably be covered by the warranty.
Benefit No. 4: You Know Where Your Equipment has Been
When you buy used restaurant equipment, you’re preparing food with every person that piece has ever been used by. While you and your staff may treat your commercial equipment with kid gloves, the simple fact is those pieces are used and abused in a lot of food service establishments, and a lot of people don’t keep up with the regular equipment maintenance required to keep things running properly. Like the simple fact of its being older, that can mean it comes with a long list of problems, from busted door gaskets to leaky intake valves.
Benefit No. 5: It’s Probably Much More Reliable
This one builds on benefits one, three, and four. Each of them presents issues that could cause your kitchen’s most essential pieces of equipment to fail. If it does in the middle of a meal service, you could lose from several hours to a few days’ worth of business, depending on how long it takes to get your service company out. That doesn’t just mean potential profit losses, it’s also likely to generate some ill will, lost faith, and damage to your reputation in the dining community, which may mean you’re losing customer traffic and money long-term.
Benefit No. 6: Buying New Restaurant Equipment Lets You Get Exactly What You Need
When you buy new commercial restaurant equipment, you can order pieces with exactly what you need, whether that means a stock piece or a custom commercial equipment build. Buying used forces you to take whatever specs are part of the units you can find, even if that means you sacrifice some things – like sliding doors or more burners – to get it. You might try to justify it by telling yourself it’s a good deal, but those savings will disappear quickly if you can’t handle the volume of your customers’ demands.
Benefit No. 7: Used Restaurant Equipment is Typically Less Efficient
Most people know the longer you drive a car, the worse it’s likely to be on gas mileage. As parts of the engine wear down or out, they don’t fire like they used to, meaning it takes more gas to keep going. The same principle applies to kitchen equipment. Wear and tear makes it less efficient, meaning it uses more energy or gas. Additionally, newer technology allows manufacturers to develop more efficient pieces, so new definitely wins in this test.
Benefit No. 8: Older Pieces May Not Meet Current Health and Safety Codes
Restaurant equipment is always evolving to provide a better product, whether that means stainless steel surfaces are added so it’s easier to clean, coved corners are used so bacteria can’t collect as easily, or ventilation is improved to reduce fire potential. As the technology develops, regulations typically aren’t far behind. That could mean the used piece you’re looking at is ruled out by new health or safety regulations. Overall, new commercial equipment is likely to be cleaner and safer than used, anyway.