The Differences Between Used and Refurbished Kitchen Equipment
How do you shop for equipment? For most people, the most straightforward process is to walk into a store, compare a few brands and models, put down the cash for it, and arrange for transport or delivery and installation. But is it really the best way?
New restaurants need to survive the crucial first year of operations to recoup their investment and profit off their venture by generating enough revenue. But kitchen equipment does not come cheap — especially if you want to ensure consistently great food that customers will keep coming back for.
With the long-term survival of your foodservice operation at stake and the financial challenge of breaking into a popular and highly competitive market, brand new kitchen equipment may not be the smartest investment.
Refurbished kitchen equipment offers a middle ground between affordability and guaranteed manufacturer quality. Although refurbished equipment is often dismissed because of connotations surrounding previous use and damage, refurbished equipment is actually a smart investment. Unlike most used items, refurbished kitchen equipment undergoes a rigorous repair and certification process to restore optimal quality and condition.
Is all refurbished equipment used?
A lot of business owners — and even individual shoppers — are often wary of used equipment. These are often of the Kijiji or Craigslist variety: sold by individual sellers who have gotten more than a few years of use out of them, resulting in broken or damaged parts and cosmetic issues like dents and scratches.
Even when claimed to be restored, these final sale items don’t come with a warranty and may cost more to maintain in the long run due to the risk of frequent breakdowns.
Refurbished to Brand New Quality
But that’s not the case with certified refurbished items. Refurbished kitchen equipment is often lightly used, exchanged or returned to stores, or even used in-store displays. They’re resold at lower prices but not before undergoing a rigorous certification process that ensures they are in optimal condition. This is why they come with a new warranty — they’re almost brand new quality.
Just make sure to purchase refurbished kitchen equipment from a trusted reseller. While anyone can replace parts with the right tools, only an authorized reseller or manufacturer can ensure that refurbished equipment is built with original electrical parts, knobs, controls, and exterior panels to meet industry standards.
The Risk of Used Equipment
In contrast, pre-owned equipment often doesn't come with the same guarantee. With any seller able to offload their used equipment on online marketplaces, there’s no guarantee that they were repaired or calibrated before being sold. Buyers then have the responsibility of verifying product quality — a task that few people have the training and technical knowledge to perform safely.
Over time, used equipment may prove to be more expensive because you have to pay for parts replacement and multiple repairs. You may even spend more on maintenance costs than the price of a brand new or refurbished item.
Refurbished vs. New: What’s the difference?
Refurbished kitchen equipment undergoes manufacturer-approved testing, calibration, and certification process.
This includes replacing broken or damaged parts like controls, lighting, and shelving units, reconfiguring electrical connections. They will also retouch any cosmetic damage, replacing worn-out knobs, interior and exterior panelling, and buffing out scratches and dents.
Once complete, the item is certified refurbished — restored to brand new quality, stamped with a fresh warranty service with typically the same terms as a brand new appliance rolling directly off the factory line.
2. Physical condition
Looks may not always be everything, but used equipment will often look used, further decreasing their value. Even the slightest scratch, dent, or paint chip will indicate wear-and-tear from anywhere between months and years of use. But with refurbished kitchen equipment, you often won’t be able to tell it was used before — at all!
A crucial part of the refurbishing process is restoring not only the function and interior parts of kitchen equipment but its exterior as well. Refurbished kitchen equipment is fitted with new panelling, a fresh coat of paint, faceplates, buttons, knobs, and other exterior parts to restore its physical condition to brand new. This erases any sign of damage and previous use and ensures that refurbished kitchen equipment works — and looks — like brand new.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) typically don’t sell used or even refurbished kitchen equipment. When they do, it’s in small quantities, or on an off-lease basis following the expiration of a large lease by a corporate customer.
But before putting these items back on the market, these are rigorously refurbished and certified for brand new look and function. This is why it matters to know who you are buying refurbished equipment. Any dealer or individual seller can replace old or damaged parts and market these restored items as refurbished, but not to the manufacturer’s standards. These items are not refurbished but simply used.
Certified refurbished kitchen equipment is sold directly by OEMs or an authorized reseller with access to original or manufacturer-produced replacement parts, and follow manufacturer specifications in the refurbishing process.
Check before you buy any refurbished kitchen equipment to ensure that you are receiving brand new-quality items, with a new warranty.
4. Age and support
Used kitchen equipment is sold at a steep discount for a reason — it’s old and has seen years of wear-and-tear from long-term use. While it presents as highly affordable, it’s essential to consider how many years of use you can still get out of it, and the cost of necessary maintenance.
A bargain today might actually end up costing more than new equipment over the course of multiple repairs and maintenance services. Worse, buying an already discontinued product puts you at a severe disadvantage when it can no longer be repaired because replacement parts go out of production.
OEMs and authorized dealers only refurbish and sell kitchen equipment to liquidate surplus inventory quickly as new products enter the market. Whereas, with the Ancaster Advantage, all refurbished equipment is rigorously tested so that the product looks and operates like it just came from the manufacturer.