Who Buys Used Kitchen Equipment: Top Buyers & Tips for Selling

Last updated on May 24, 2024

Discover the diverse range of buyers seeking used kitchen equipment, as we delve into their motivations and preferences for acquiring pre-owned culinary treasures.

Have you ever wondered what happens to commercial kitchen equipment when a restaurant closes down or upgrades its appliances? It’s not uncommon for these items to end up in the hands of individuals or businesses looking for affordable options. But who exactly buys used kitchen equipment? In this article, we’ll dive into the world of secondhand restaurant gear and explore the various types of buyers you may encounter.

Whether you’re a seller looking to offload some equipment or a buyer on the hunt for a deal, this guide will provide valuable insights into this often-overlooked market. So let’s get started!

What's Inside

Restaurants and Cafes


Restaurants and cafes are among the most common buyers of used kitchen equipment. Whether they’re just starting out or looking to expand, these businesses often need to keep costs down while still maintaining high-quality standards.

Used equipment can be a great way for them to achieve this balance.

Many restaurants and cafes purchase pre-owned items such as ovens, refrigerators, freezers, grills, fryers and other cooking appliances from closed-down establishments or those that have upgraded their gear. They may also buy used furniture like tables and chairs as well as smallwares such as plates, glasses or utensils.

When buying secondhand restaurant equipment for their business needs restaurateurs should ensure that it is in good working condition before making a purchase decision. It’s important to inspect the item thoroughly before committing any money – checking its age; wear-and-tear level; functionality; compatibility with existing systems (if applicable); warranty status (if available) etc.

Food Trucks Owners

Food Trucks Owner

Food truck owners often face tight budgets and limited space, making pre-owned appliances an attractive option. They may purchase everything from refrigerators and freezers to grills and fryers secondhand.

Some food truck owners even seek out vintage or unique pieces that add character to their mobile kitchens.

When buying used equipment for a food truck, it’s important for the owner-operator to ensure that all items meet health code regulations before purchasing them. This means checking for any damage or wear-and-tear that could compromise the safety of the appliance or its ability to function properly.

Catering Businesses

Catering Businesses

These companies provide food and beverage services for events such as weddings, corporate meetings, and parties. Since catering is a highly competitive industry with tight profit margins, many businesses look to save money by purchasing pre-owned equipment instead of buying new items at full price.

Used kitchen equipment can be especially attractive to startups or small-scale catering operations that may not have the budget for brand-new appliances. However, it’s important to note that quality is key when it comes to commercial-grade gear – if an item breaks down during an event or fails health inspections due to poor maintenance standards, it could spell disaster for a business’s reputation.

That said, reputable sellers will typically offer warranties or guarantees on their used products and may even provide installation services as part of the purchase agreement.

Bakers and Pastry Chefs

Supporting Small Business Incubator Kitchens

Many of these professionals are small business owners or operate out of their homes, so they may not have the budget for brand new equipment. Used mixers, ovens, proofing cabinets, and other items can help them get started or expand their operations without breaking the bank.

In addition to cost savings, buying used also allows bakers and pastry chefs to experiment with different types of equipment before committing to a big purchase. For example, they may want to try out a specific type of mixer or oven before investing in a new one.

When shopping for used kitchen gear as a baker or pastry chef it’s important that you inspect each item carefully before making your purchase. Look for signs of wear-and-tear such as rusted parts on metal surfaces which could affect food safety standards if not properly cleaned up after use; check electrical cords thoroughly too – frayed wires pose an electrocution risk!

Cooking Schools

Benefits for Food Entrepreneurs Kitchen Incubators

Cooking schools often have limited budgets for outfitting their kitchens with top-of-the-line appliances, so buying pre-owned gear is an attractive option. Many cooking schools offer classes on how to repair and maintain commercial kitchen equipment, making it easier for them to keep older machines in good working order.

Whether you’re a student looking for affordable tools or an instructor seeking budget-friendly options that still deliver quality results, buying used restaurant equipment can be a smart choice.

Home-based Food Businesses

Kitchen Cabinet cookbook

These entrepreneurs may be just starting out and looking for affordable ways to equip their kitchens, or they may be expanding their operations and need additional appliances. For example, a home baker might purchase a used commercial mixer to increase production capacity or upgrade from a smaller model.

In addition to cost savings, buying used equipment can also help these small business owners reduce waste and support sustainability efforts. By giving pre-owned items new life in their own kitchens instead of purchasing brand-new products, they’re helping to keep usable goods out of landfills.

However, it’s important for home-based food businesses to do their due diligence when shopping for secondhand equipment. They should ensure that the items meet safety standards and regulations set by local health departments before making any purchases.

Hotels and Resorts

Hotels and Resorts

These establishments require a wide range of appliances, from commercial ovens to refrigerators, dishwashers, and more. Buying used equipment is an excellent way for them to save money while still maintaining their standards of quality.

Some hotels may have seasonal restaurants or catering services that only operate during peak times of the year; purchasing pre-owned gear allows them to equip these facilities without investing in brand new items they won’t use year-round.

Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofit Organizations

These kitchens require equipment that can withstand heavy use and frequent cleaning, making used kitchen equipment a practical option. Nonprofits may also seek out specific items such as industrial mixers or ovens to increase their capacity and efficiency.

Some nonprofits host fundraising events where they serve food, requiring temporary access to additional kitchen gear like chafing dishes or serving platters.

As you can see, there are many different types of buyers seeking used kitchen equipment for various reasons. Whether it’s a restaurant owner looking to upgrade their appliances or a nonprofit organization in need of reliable cooking tools on a budget, the market for pre-owned culinary gear is vast and diverse.

Event Planners

Event Planners

These professionals organize a wide range of events, from weddings and corporate functions to charity galas and community festivals. Depending on the size and scope of the event, they may need everything from ovens and refrigerators to mixers, blenders, and serving dishes.

By purchasing pre-owned equipment instead of new items, event planners can save money while still providing high-quality service for their clients.

In addition to cost savings, buying used kitchen equipment also allows event planners to access unique or hard-to-find items that might not be available through traditional retail channels. For example, vintage china sets or antique silverware can add a touch of elegance or nostalgia to an event that simply cannot be replicated with modern pieces.

Street Food Vendors

Street Food Vendors

Many street vendors operate on tight budgets and may not have the funds to purchase brand new equipment. Used appliances such as grills, fryers, and refrigerators can help them get started without breaking the bank.

Some street food vendors prefer older models of kitchen equipment because they are often more durable than newer ones. They also tend to be easier to repair since replacement parts are readily available in many cases.

When purchasing used kitchen equipment for their business, it’s important that street food vendors thoroughly inspect each item before making a purchase. This includes checking for any damage or wear and tear that could affect its performance or safety.

Commercial Kitchens

Selecting the Right Incubator Kitchen

These include restaurants, cafes, hotels, and catering businesses that require a wide range of appliances to prepare food on a large scale. For these establishments, purchasing brand new equipment can be prohibitively expensive.

Used kitchen gear offers an affordable alternative without compromising quality or functionality.

Many commercial kitchens prefer to buy from reputable dealers who specialize in pre-owned restaurant equipment as they offer warranties and after-sales services such as installation and repair assistance.

When buying used kitchen appliances for your business needs, it’s essential to ensure that the items are in good working condition before making any purchase decisions. It’s also crucial to consider factors such as energy efficiency ratings and compliance with safety regulations.

Franchise Business Owners

Franchise Business Owners

That’s why franchise owners often turn to the used market for their kitchen needs. From fast-food chains to coffee shops, there are plenty of franchises that rely on pre-owned equipment.

Franchisees may also have access to corporate resources or preferred vendors who specialize in selling used gear at a discount.

For example, a Subway sandwich shop owner might need an oven for baking bread and heating up sandwiches quickly during peak hours. Instead of purchasing a brand-new model from the manufacturer, they could save money by buying one that has been previously owned but still functions well.

In addition to cost savings, buying used can also help franchise owners maintain consistency across multiple locations while adhering to brand standards set by their franchisor. By purchasing identical models of equipment across all stores within the same chain or network ensures uniformity in product quality and customer experience.

Pop-up Food Establishments

These temporary restaurants can take many forms, from food trucks to pop-up shops or even outdoor markets. Because of their short-term nature, pop-ups may not have the budget for brand new appliances and tools.

That’s where buying used comes in handy.

Many aspiring chefs and entrepreneurs use secondhand equipment as a way to test out their concept without breaking the bank. They can experiment with different menus or locations before committing to a long-term lease or investment in new gear.

Some established restaurants also use pop-ups as an opportunity for expansion into new neighborhoods or markets without having to invest heavily upfront. By using pre-owned kitchen equipment that is still functional but no longer needed by other businesses, they can keep costs low while still delivering high-quality cuisine.

Hostels and Guesthouses


These establishments typically have communal kitchens where guests can prepare their own meals, making it essential to have functional appliances and cookware available. Buying pre-owned equipment is an affordable way for hostels and guesthouses to outfit their kitchens with the necessary tools without breaking the bank.

Many hostel owners prioritize sustainability in their operations, so purchasing secondhand items aligns with this ethos.

If you’re looking to sell your used kitchen equipment as a hostel or guesthouse owner, there are several options available for finding buyers. You can reach out directly to other local businesses in your industry or post listings on online classifieds websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

Alternatively, you could work with a commercial resale store specializing in restaurant gear that may be interested in purchasing your items outright.

Community Centers

Community Centers

These facilities serve as gathering places for local residents, offering a variety of programs and activities such as cooking classes, community meals, and events. Many community centers operate on tight budgets and rely on donations or secondhand purchases to acquire the necessary equipment for their kitchens.

By purchasing used kitchen appliances from restaurants or other businesses that have closed down, these organizations can save money while still providing quality services to their members. Buying pre-owned items is an eco-friendly option that reduces waste by giving new life to perfectly functional equipment.

If you’re looking to sell your restaurant gear but want it put towards a good cause in your local area instead of just making some extra cash off it then donating it could be an excellent option!

Church Kitchens

Church Kitchens

They are used to prepare meals for church events and gatherings, as well as being rented out to community members or local businesses in need of kitchen space. Church kitchens can be an excellent source of affordable equipment for those looking to start their own food business or expand an existing one.

Purchasing from a church kitchen can also provide the satisfaction of supporting a good cause while acquiring necessary equipment at the same time.

Whether you’re looking for ovens, refrigerators, mixers or other commercial-grade appliances and utensils; it’s worth checking with your local churches if they have any items available for sale. You may find some great deals on high-quality gear that has been well-maintained over the years by dedicated volunteers who take pride in keeping their facilities clean and functional.

Repair Technicians

appliance repair

These professionals specialize in repairing and maintaining commercial-grade appliances, such as ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, and more. They may work independently or be employed by a restaurant supply company.

For buyers of used kitchen equipment who want to ensure their purchases are in good working order before putting them into service or reselling them later on down the line – repair technicians can provide peace of mind. By inspecting each piece thoroughly for any issues that could pose safety risks or cause malfunctions during operation – they help prevent costly repairs down the road.

In addition to providing maintenance services for individual pieces of equipment – some repair technicians also offer installation services when needed. This is especially helpful if you’re purchasing large appliances like walk-in coolers/freezers which require professional installation expertise.

Local Brick-and-Mortar Resale Stores

Local Brick-and-Mortar Resale Stores

These shops specialize in selling secondhand items, including restaurant gear, at a fraction of the cost of new equipment. They often have a wide selection of products available and may even offer warranties or repair services on their merchandise.

One advantage to shopping at these stores is that you can physically inspect the items before purchasing them. This allows you to check for any damage or wear and tear that may not be visible in online listings.

Buying from local resale shops supports small businesses within your community and reduces waste by giving pre-owned goods a second life.

If you’re interested in finding local brick-and-mortar resale stores near you, try searching online directories or asking around your neighborhood for recommendations.

Online Classifieds

Facebook Marketplace

Websites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay offer a platform for individuals and businesses to connect with potential buyers or sellers. These platforms allow you to search for specific items in your local area or even across the country.

You can also post ads describing what you’re looking for or what you have available.

When using online classifieds, it’s important to exercise caution when dealing with strangers on the internet. Always meet in a public place if possible when exchanging money or goods, and be wary of scams that may seem too good to be true.

Online classifieds are an excellent resource for finding affordable used kitchen equipment from a wide range of sources – whether it’s someone selling their old restaurant gear after closing down shop or an individual upgrading their home appliances.

Auction House Specializing in Restaurant Equipment

Auction House Specializing in Restaurant Equipment

These auction houses typically have a wide range of items up for bid, from small appliances like blenders and mixers to large commercial ovens and refrigerators. Buyers can often find great deals on high-quality equipment that has been well-maintained by previous owners.

Sellers also benefit from working with an auction house as they can reach a larger audience of potential buyers than they would through other channels. Auctions provide sellers with the opportunity to set their own reserve price, ensuring that they receive fair compensation for their items.

One thing to keep in mind when working with an auction house is the commission fee charged by the company. This fee is usually a percentage of the final sale price and varies depending on the specific auction house’s policies.

Auctions specializing in restaurant equipment offer both buyers and sellers unique advantages over traditional resale options such as online classifieds or brick-and-mortar stores. If you’re interested in exploring this avenue further, be sure to research reputable companies operating within your area before making any commitments.

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