When you’re ready to buy equipment but not sure exactly where to start it can feel a bit scary. You don’t want to waste money, but you also want to get something worth it.
When I or my clients are starting a new business there are a couple of places that have become my go-to’s. What I turn to first depends on the budget and what exactly we need.
I’ve put together a quick guide to help you know where to look and get the most for your money.
Restaurant & Catering Equipment Suppliers
Let’s start with the obvious. The catering industry is well served in terms of equipment suppliers, easily found through a quick Google search.
In the long run, it can be cheaper to buy new.
Please be aware though: these are salespeople. Their job is to sell. I have had many clients complain that they were recommended items they didn’t need or were too big for what they wanted to do. (Yes, cake mixers are cheaper but they won’t work to knead dough, every day. They will break)
Always research what is recommended to you, and if you can get an industry friend (or insider) to have a look.
I like the idea of Facebook Marketplace. I like searching and seeing what’s out there. But I often don’t buy even though I know what I’m looking for and what I shouldn’t touch.
Used equipment can be a danger zone, and anything with Facebook in it makes me wary of scams.
If you are happy to take the risk, look for areas that look reputable, and that the equipment looks well maintained. Remember: buy nice or buy twice. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Restaurants go out of business a lot and when they do they need to sell a lot of stuff, fast. Auctions are fantastic options when you need to buy a lot and you don’t have a massive budget. The downside of auctions is the same as the other second-hand options. Often, you won’t know quite what you are buying until you have it, and it’s possible it will need a good clean, and possibly some money to get it up and running. The other downside is you won’t receive a warranty on what you’re buying. If it hasn’t been maintained well it could come back to haunt you with frequent breakdowns.
A general rule of thumb is if it’s a good deal, in good condition and a good brand, you’ll probably be ok.
Restaurant and Industry communities
There is a group chat or Facebook group for every area of the industry that you can think of. In these places, you’ll find a wealth of information, from people happy to tell you where to shop, and what to watch out for. They usually who’s closing down, or who has the equipment they’re looking to move. Sometimes you might have to wait a bit for answers or try more than once. There are also no promises that what you want is being sold right now. You also have the same problem as FB Marketplace – private sales, so no warranties and the possibility of being scammed.
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