Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Used Restaurant Equipment

Buying used restaurant equipment can be a great way to save money in the short term, but if you’re not careful, it can end up costing you in the long run. Buying used equipment may seem like an attractive proposition when you are looking at your budget, but there are some key things to look out for when buying used restaurant equipment.

Make sure that any equipment you buy is still in its prime and make sure you don’t buy something that was recalled or has been recalled more recently. Buying pre-owned restaurant equipment is a great way to cut costs, but only if done correctly.

We at Texas Restaurant Supply created this article just for you. Here are some mistakes to avoid when buying used restaurant equipment.

Don’t Buy Recalled Equipment

If it’s been recalled, that’s obviously a big warning sign. You may think you’re buying something that’s been given the all clear from the manufacturer, but if you have any suspicion about it, don’t buy it. This applies to any equipment that’s been recalled and not just equipment for restaurants.

Consider Refurbished Equipment

If the equipment is in good condition and has been refurbished by the manufacturer, there are ways to save a little cash. Even refurbished equipment is worth it if it’s been quality refurbished to look good. Buying refurbished doesn’t mean a less sturdy product, so if you don’t feel secure about it, don’t buy it.

Make Sure the Used Equipment Is Still in Its Prime

Some pre-owned restaurant equipment has a “popcorn and weed” smell to it that some buyers associate with its age. Before you purchase used equipment, check the packaging it came in to see if there was any indication of the age of the equipment.

If the packaging shows a “recycling recommended by the manufacturer” note, it may still be relatively new, but is it still in the prime of its life? If you think it is, make sure it isn’t just something that looks old but is old, or worse, something that was recalled recently.

Some packages also have numbers on them that are the serial numbers of the unit. Make sure that you only buy used equipment from a reputable source and look for the “stampede” mark, which means the equipment was sold through a reputable store or restaurant.

Consider Any Hidden Flaws That May Not Be Apparent

When it comes to buying used restaurant equipment, it is very important to be looking at the condition of the equipment. In particular, make sure that you don’t buy something that is visibly dirty and rusty.

There is no guarantee that the equipment will not develop rust when you open up a new restaurant, so it is important that you make sure that you buy equipment that is in good condition and that you check any visible flaws or blemishes.

Don’t buy something that has been disassembled and then put back together. Although this is a great way to save money, it is important that the equipment is still completely operational.

Have a Plan for Maintenance and Repairs

No matter how well you maintain a restaurant equipment purchase, the equipment will eventually break down. When buying used restaurant equipment, be sure that you have a maintenance and repair plan in place to fix any equipment problems quickly.

This should be based on your equipment’s manufacturer recommendations. It’s also a good idea to get an estimate of how much it will cost to fix the equipment ahead of time, so you know if it will be cost effective to purchase.

Be Prepared for Recalls

Some of the equipment you buy will have a recall placed on it, either before or after you purchase the equipment. For instance, any piece of equipment with a “B” on it could be recalled. You don’t want to buy something that has a recall listed on it and not be aware of it.

Know How To Spot Counterfeit Products

It’s a good idea to do your research before you buy anything. Make sure that you check if the used equipment you’re interested in is still in good condition and hasn’t been recalled or has been recalled recently.

You should also check the product’s brand and make sure that the equipment still contains the brand name and the product number. The most popular brands include Black and Decker, Thermador and KitchenAid.

Buying used equipment without knowing how to spot counterfeit products can be dangerous. The cost of your restaurant equipment could be more than double because you’ve been caught out buying a fake product. Avoid paying for a fake product.

Use Your Gut

When buying restaurant equipment, use your gut to decide what’s best for you. Look at what is in your price range, your budget, and the type of restaurant you are planning on opening.

Only you know what you need, and you are your own best advisor when it comes to what equipment you should get. If you buy equipment from a cheaper or lesser known brand, it may not be as efficient or durable as equipment you can buy from a reputable brand.

Also, to get a deal, you may have to pay a little more in addition to the actual cost of the equipment.

Look Out for Warranties and Warranties That Only Last So Long

Make sure you look out for warranty periods. These will only last so long, so look out for ones that have been around for a long time and you can be sure to find a manufacturer who will cover the equipment and the warranty with you.

The longer the warranty is, the better. You don’t want to be the person who bought an expensive piece of equipment and had it recalled, or who has to foot the bill for a new piece.

Make sure you buy something with a manufacturer warranty if possible. These are valid for a set period of time.

Is It Worth the Risk of Buying Used Restaurant Equipment?

Some of the best used restaurant equipment can be bought at a fair price, but that does not mean you can take that risk. To ensure you get the most out of your money, you have to ensure that you buy equipment that is in tip-top shape and does not contain any known recalls.

Don’t be tempted by the look of an item, just because you think it would look great in your restaurant. The price might be right, but don’t forget that you will be keeping your equipment for a long time. Buy used equipment carefully and make sure it doesn’t have any issues.


We hope you enjoyed our article about mistakes to avoid when buying used restaurant equipment. It can be a great way to save money in the short term. We always recommend purchasing pre-owned equipment from professional and reputable restaurant suppliers such as ourselves.

Here at Texas Restaurant Supply, we’ve earned a stellar reputation for selling fantastic restaurant equipment at fair prices. With over 35 years in the business, we’ve learned about keeping our customers not only educated but happy.