Starting a new restaurant can be exciting … and expensive. One way to keep expenses in check is to look for used furnishings and equipment. Taking the time to find used items, and then carefully examining them to be sure they are clean and in working order could significantly help get the restaurant off to a great start.
Often restaurants that go out of business have a well-equipped kitchen with most of the items you will need to start yours. While used equipment will not come with a warranty, most malfunctions happen after the warranty expires anyway, so warranties may not make buying new as important. Many of the commercial items are built to last. If they are clean and well-maintained, they could be just what you are looking for. Viking stoves, for example, will probably last a lifetime. Refrigerators, freezers, electric mixers and meat slicers are just some of the items that are often put up for sale when the restaurant closes and, depending on the type of restaurant, they may have been very gently used.
Booths, tables, chairs, counters and other furniture can be quite pricey when purchased new. Again, make sure items are clean, sturdy, well-built, and in a style you can live with. They could give you years of service for a fraction of the cost of buying new.
Smaller items, like napkin holders, bread baskets, dishes, glassware and flatware are all items that are usually found in good shape when a restaurant closes. And don’t forget the mixing bowls, pots, pans and other prep items that every restaurant kitchen needs.
One caveat when buying either new or used restaurant equipment and furniture: Be sure you need it. No matter how big the bargain, if you are not sure you will need a specific item, pass on it.