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Your Ultimate Guide to Buying Equipment For Your Restaurant

Back Print

May 01, 2023

Is your team getting ready to open a new restaurant? Then you’ll want to ensure you get all your restaurant essentials taken care of before your grand opening. Whether this is your first establishment or tenth, here are some best practices to help you develop, source, and buy all of the equipment you may needs.

What is Considered Restaurant Equipment?

Restaurant equipment covers various service and kitchen essentials, from industrial cooking equipment to smallwares. The first step in buying kitchen equipment is taking stock of everything you need. Creating a kitchen and service equipment list will help you ascertain everything you need to operate a commercial restaurant.

3 Steps to Determine Your Restaurant Equipment Needs

3 Steps to Determine Your Restaurant Equipment Needs.

1. Create a spreadsheet listing all of your menu items, including beverages.

2. Next to each menu item on the list, type up every piece of equipment needed to execute that dish or beverage. This catalog should take into consideration smallwares, cooking equipment, and refrigeration. For example:


Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

Large Spoon

To help streamline the process, sort the spreadsheet alphabetically.

3. Remove all the duplicate equipment items.

After these three main steps, you will have your master equipment list. Make sure you also outline which service items your front-of-the-house will need, such as plates, silverware, glassware, and linens.

Remember that your restaurant equipment needs can and will change, and you’ll likely notice more equipment needs down the line, especially as you update your menu.

Purchasing Restaurant Equipment

Now that your equipment list is compiled, here comes the fun part: getting all your supplies!  Restaurant owners have a number of purchasing options—from used to new—so deciding which way to go can feel like a challenge. Weighing the pros and cons, and looking at your restaurant budget can help you make the best choice for your bottom line.

New Vs. Used Restaurant Equipment

Purchasing equipment can be a hefty investment. You want to ensure you get reliable equipment that will last, but you also want the best deal possible. Here are some pros and cons for new and used equipment.

Used Equipment


  • Typically more affordable upfront
  • Slower deprecation value
  • Reduces industrial equipment waste
  • Could provide lower operating costs if purchased in prime shape 


  • Warranty might be expired
  • Could break down sooner than expected 
  • Might be outdated, and therefore difficult to replace parts or match service ware styles

When to Buy Used?

If you want to save on start-up costs, buying used can help meet your budget while getting good equipment. Some of these larger items can be found used and still stick around for the long haul:

  • Gas equipment
  • Ovens and ranges
  • Fryers
  • Tableware
  • Blenders and food processors

New Equipment 


  • Comes equipped with the latest features and technology
  • Longer-term usage and less chance of breakdown
  • Warranties cover equipment for longer


  • Higher upfront costs
  • Full depreciation must be taken

When to Buy New?

It’s typically a good idea to start with new items if you can, but first-time restaurant owners might not always have the budget, so they must choose which items to splurge on.

If that’s the case, here are a few items that are recommended to purchase new:

  • Industrial freezers and refrigerators
  • Ice machines

Restaurant Equipment Financing Options 

If you are looking for some financing options, equipment loans are available. They work like traditional loans, in which the equipment acts as the collateral for the loan. You can work with your bank or small-business lenders to set up restaurant equipment financing.

Where to Purchase Industrial Kitchen Equipment?

Kitchen equipment is likely to be the bulk of your large-ticket items. Most restaurants will need industrial equipment such as:

  • Commercial ovens, ranges, fryers, flattops, and ventilation
  • Sinks for handwashing, food prep, and custodial needs
  • Food prep counters and storage
  • Refrigerators and freezers

Restaurant owners can find used and like-new equipment at online auction houses like Restaurant Auction Company, PCI Auctions, and Auction Zip. If you want to shop locally, talk to establishments and wholesale restaurant suppliers in your area for recommendations.

Find More Restaurant Essentials at Your Local Restaurant Supply Store

US Foods CHEF’STORE carries a wealth of restaurant supplies—from knives to cutting boards, melamine plates to serving pieces, kitchen utensils, and more! Our professional-grade products are always built to last. Visit your local CHEF’STORE or get our exceptional items delivered directly to you with our grocery delivery services.

The information materials and opinions contained in this blog/website are for general information purposes only, are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. We make no warranties, representations, or undertakings about any of the content of this blog/website (including, without limitation, as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content).

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