How to Buy and Sell Restaurant Equipment


The food service industry is incredibly competitive, and not all restaurants make it past their first five years. When an establishment closes their doors for the last time, what becomes of all the equipment and fixtures? Generally, these are sold to used equipment dealers at a discounted price and then resold with a modest markup.

Restaurants also go through this process when they upgrade their equipment or renovate their space.There are pros and cons to working through a used equipment dealer, but by and large it’s always going to be your best option. The key to making the most of the process is making sure you are getting the ideal price whether you are buying or selling. Read on to learn the best ways to buy and sell used restaurant equipment and get the best value every time.

Best Ways To Buy Used Restaurant Equipment

Buying used equipment that is in like new or gently used condition can save your restaurant a significant amount of startup money. To prepare the best quality food, you need the best quality equipment; however, that doesn’t mean you have to pay retail for it either. Here are some tips for buying top quality kitchen equipment and appliances without breaking your budget:

  1. Find And Subscribe To Equipment Dealers’ Email Lists

The first step is to find used restaurant equipment dealers and sign up for their email newsletter. This will ensure you see the current inventory and new appliances and equipment as they are added. Many dealers also offer email-only exclusive discounts, so keep checking the newsletter regularly so you don’t miss any special offers or items.

  1. Inspect Equipment Thoroughly Before You Buy

If you can go to the dealer’s showroom, carefully inspect any equipment you are considering before purchase. It is critical that you know everything works correctly and that the equipment is "as advertised". Furthermore, always check what kind of warranty is available for your purchase, both for the dealer and the manufacturer.

  1. Shop Locally If Possible

Not only can you easily inspect your prospective purchases in person by shopping locally, but your delivery cost will be significantly less expensive. Shipping a major appliance across the state or cross-country always costs more than transporting it across town yourself or opting for local delivery.

Best Ways To Sell Used Restaurant Equipment

When it comes to selling used restaurant equipment, the challenge is finding a buyer for what you have to sell. You can always sell the equipment yourself and keep more of the proceeds, but finding the right buyer can be a tricky proposition. For example, a burger and fries joint isn’t going to be in the market or pizza oven, nor is a Mexican restaurant going to need bakery racks.

That being said, if you sell your equipment to a used restaurant equipment dealer, they have a much larger network of buyers. Used restaurant equipment dealers can afford to pay for your equipment immediately because they always have buyers lined up. Regardless of what you are selling, they can move it and are always willing to pay cash on the nail for it. To get the best possible sales price for your used equipment though, here are three steps you should take prior to contacting a dealer:

  1. Clean Equipment Thoroughly

If you already have a professional cleaning service for your restaurant, request an extra thorough cleaning of the equipment you plan to sell. Alternatively, ask your kitchen staff to give it a thorough going over so it’s as close to like new as possible. It’s much easier to ask for a higher price when the equipment looks its best.

  1. Locate All Manuals And Warranty Cards

You may not have looked at either of these since you purchased your equipment, but you should find them before selling nonetheless. Having all accessories, manuals and warranty cards is the best way to present your equipment in like-new condition. It can be difficult to get the best possible sale price without them. Most importantly, some manufacturer warranties can be transferred to the new owner, increasing the resale value.

  1. Check The Fair Market Price For Your Equipment

You’ll want to consider how old your equipment is and the amount of wear it has withstood since you purchased it. According to the Small Business Association (SBA), liquidated merchandise is generally priced at twenty percent of the original retail price. It’s also smart to consult with an appraiser for a fair price before considering any offers from dealers or private buyers. Finally, do not move your equipment off-site until you have a sale. Relocating equipment can actually depreciate its value further, so leave it until it’s ready to go to its new home.


Now that you understand the key aspects of getting the best value for used restaurant equipment, you’re ready to do business. Follow these key steps carefully, and you’re sure to get the best possible price, buying or selling. If you’re local to the Fort Worth, TX area, Texas Restaurant Supply has the inventory you need to equip a new kitchen. Moreover, we have the buying power to help you liquidate or upgrade your existing equipment. Contact us today for more information.