Ohio Restaurant Magazine, Spring 2015 - page 22

Spring 2015 Issue
Buying used commercial food service equipment can save you a
bundle in the short term. But is it a good investment? Tackle these
10 questions before deciding whether to buy new or used.
1. What are your equipment requirements?
Start by determining your operation’s needs, recommends Joseph
Carbonara, editor-in-chief of Food service Equipment & Supplies
magazine. Ask: Can the equipment help you execute your menu?
Can it handle the volume? Is it simple enough for your labor pool
to operate? Consider any growth plans, like increased volume or
menu expansion. He recommends investing in new equipment for
cornerstone items, such as a brick oven for a pizzeria.
Familiarize yourself with the available equipment options
by visiting local dealers or the National Restaurant Association
(NRA) Show in Chicago. Then decide what features you need.
2. What does it cost to purchase the item new?
“If a used item costs more than 50 percent of the price of a new
one, I would strongly suggest looking at new,” says Carbonara.
Expect better bargains at auctions, but buyer beware.
3. What is the total cost of ownership?
To determine whether you’re getting a good deal, consider the
total cost of ownership. Factor in the expected lifespan, the cost
of service/repairs and operational costs. “The initial purchase price
is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the total cost to own
and operate an appliance,” says Richard Young, senior engineer and
director of education for the PG&E Food Service Technology Center.
The cost of energy and other commodities, such as water or fryer
oil, often exceeds the initial purchase price by many thousands
of dollars. You might think you’re getting a great deal on a low-
cost piece of equipment, but you potentially are throwing away big
dollars on the operating side, Young says. FSTC offers an online
calculator to help you estimate life-cycle costs.
To slash your energy and water bills, look for equipment that
qualifies for either Energy Star and/or California Energy Wise
incentives. See the lifetime cost savings of buying new Energy
Star equipment vs. new conventional equipment. Unfortunately,
it’s often difficult to find used Energy Star equipment, notes Jeff
Clark, director of the National Restaurant Association’s Conserve
program, which focuses on environmental sustainability in the
restaurant industry. “Be sure to ask your equipment dealer
though; you might get lucky,” says Clark.
4. Has the equipment been reconditioned?
Some dealers recondition used equipment before re-selling it,
replacing parts and making repairs as needed. Ask specifically
what work was done. Reconditioned equipment comes with a
higher price tag but lower risk than equipment bought “as is.” You
also could consider buying remanufactured equipment that has
been stripped down and rebuilt.
Does It Pay to Buy Used Equipment?
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