So, you’ve finally got the money you need to make the kitchen upgrades you’ve been dreaming of for years. Congratulations! Or you're closing your location for reasons beyond your control. Arrrrgh! Either way, you've got some major inventory questions to answer. What are you going to do with that original oven, low boy fridge, and frier that took up so much of your opening budget?
Kicking perfectly good equipment to the curb isn’t just a waste; it’s also a missed opportunity to make back some cash on your investments, or even goose your restaurant's profit margins. Luckily, it’s not as hard as you might think to sell used restaurant equipment to other operators who are looking to get the tools they need at a reasonable price. Here’s everything you need to know when trying to figure out where to sell your lightly used wares.
Sell used restaurant equipment through your local brick-and-mortar resale stores
The hospitality industry is notorious for its fast turnover. A whisper-thin silver lining to this fact is that in most of the country the local market for buying and selling used restaurant equipment is viable, perhaps even robust. Most major cities or regions support dozens of resellers who may specialize in specific equipment or work as a catch-all. A professional reseller might be the most straightforward way to unload your unneeded equipment while making back some of your investment.
There’s plenty of immediate upside to relying on a local reseller, not least of which is how easy it can be to get a quote and cash in hand on a single trip. Specialty shops might also be able to help match you directly with restaurants that might be in the market for the very equipment you’re looking to sell. But as with any resale, sticking local might limit how much money you can recoup.
This process should be about selling your sink, not taking a bath. Do some research ahead of time when looking where to sell used restaurant equipment by checking review sites and asking other local businesses to recommend resellers. If you’re in a big city, this could also mean looking at nearby towns or burbs to land an even better price.
Your equipment dealer might buy back your used convection oven
Not using your salamander as much as you thought you would? You might get money for it from the very people who sold it to you. If you bought equipment from a large-scale supplier or retailer, check their policy on purchasing back used items. In many cases, if you can prove the equipment is in working order, they can take it off your hands while you make back a portion of what you paid for it — less shipping and handling, of course.
Repair technicians know who's in the market for a stove or a big mixer
If anyone knows which restaurants need a replacement for a piece of busted equipment, it’s the repair people who come in to fix your oven, HVAC, or plumbing. Who better to ask about recycling that refrigerator you’re finally upgrading than the folks who just arrived from a restaurant whose fridge bit the dust?
Service techs can help connect you to other restaurants in need, buy equipment off you to sell later, or even move your old or busted equipment to use for parts, ensuring you’ll get at least some cash for your troubles.
You can sell anything in your kitchen via free online classifieds
Sometimes you don’t need a pro to make the most dough. Local online listings like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace let you post ads that other restaurants in the area can easily find, for free. If the right buyer finds it, you can offload your old stuff at top speed.
Plus, you’ll be working with restaurants in your area, cutting down on shipping costs and potentially making the move much quicker. The downside? Posting your price might prevent you from haggling for what your equipment is really worth. That naturally brings us to ...
Find an auction house that specializes in restaurant equipment
Many restaurateurs consider auctions to be the best venue to sell used restaurant equipment. This is especially true now that there are dozens of online options that can open up your list of buyers to potentially millions of customers.
Sites like eBay have long been a go-to for anyone looking to offload an old baseball card collection. It works just as well for your old grill top. Looking to offload more than just a few pieces? Large-scale auctioneers such as Hi-Bid, Equipment Titans, KMC Sales and others can bundle your stuff as large lots that help them move quickly and easily to bidders in its restaurant industry-focused section. Any auction site will take a commission on anything you move — and that’s before you cover the shipping costs and arrangements, which may fall on the seller, depending on how you negotiate the sale.