Restaurant Equipment, Used is Always a Good Option

I was in a pizza restaurant last week, no not the one that I have been raving about, another one and was having a chat to the owner. He had recently set up his pizzeria as part of a whitewater rafting, kayak and general water sports centre. The establishment was a bit off the beaten track and I was amazed at some of the equipment he had in his kitchen, including a Middleby Marshall conveyor oven that could handle ten times the volume that would ever be able to fit into this small pizzeria.

I suggested that maybe he had over capitalized just a little considering even a used Middle Marshall in reasonable condition could cost as much as $10,000 and this one looked almost new. Looking around I also noticed lots of good condition stainless steel workbenches, make tables, stoves, high end commercial microwaves etc.

OK, I asked, what’s the deal? You have a restaurant equipment package that could go into any quick service or fast casual restaurant that would cost a million to build and here you are with a little converted shed with the same equipment package!!

A huge smile broke out on his face and he told me that the entire package was for sale from a pizzeria that went bust less than a year after it opened. So what did he pay?

Now get this.  $4000 for everything.  A whole restaurant equipment package for $4000!!

  • Check out online for used restaurant equipment stores.
  • Check for Bankruptcy sales or going out of business sales and auctions.
  • ebay is full of great deals. Some of them from franchise systems like Wendy’s and Subway so you may even be able to satisfy your franchisor’s equipment specifications.
  • Ask your franchisor for stores that are closing or relocating. Most good franchisors will have a list of used equipment in storage that they will want to convert into cash.

You can often get fantastic deals for a fraction of the price and even though there probably is no longer a valid warranty you can get many years of dependable use from the majority of used equipment as long as you put in place a maintenance schedule that looks after not only the day to day cleaning and maintenance but also includes regular visits by the service technicians to ensure the internals and electrics are kept in good order. The technicians will also be able to let you know if any part needs replacing prior to a breakdown in a peak period.

The downturn in the economy can have devastating affects on many businesses and you may not want to reap the rewards of someone else s bad luck but look at it this way, at least they will be getting something back for their investment and that equipment needs to be used  so why not you!!

McDonald’s Refurb Not So New

Wow, what a lot of fuss over McDonalds new look and new technology. The trade papers have been full of potential color schemes, the lack of primary colors, screens instead of menu boards and a sit back and relax atmosphere. I am amazed at the number of writers that have jumped on the bandwagon to report on these new innovations and turn around in the strategic direction of this company.

Hang on a minute though!!

I am someone that has spent most of my last 20 years in other parts of the world and because some of those places were, shall we say, a little unhygienic, my wife and I were in the habit of visiting McDonald’s on a regular basis. Yep, we used the bathroom but didn’t eat the food. Of course all that changed when we had a child but that is another story.

Now all these visits to McDonald’s over the years has made me a bit of an expert in their décor, products, specials etc. and I will admit that I do use them as a barometer of the maturity of a market that I may have just arrived in. This goes for the more mature western markets as well, McDonalds are very good at taking ideas from their franchisees and making them work. There are always things that are market specific to whatever country you happen to be in that is interesting and sometimes a little bit quirky. Have you ever thought about what they substitute for beef in India?

I kept on getting a feeling of déjà vu as I was reading these articles and came to the realization that this is nothing new for McDonald’s, these changes are not new but a mix of all the things that have been happening around the McDonald’s world for years. McCafe has been around for years and in some parts of the world a relaxing latte in McDonalds has been a regular part of many people’s daily lives. They even have comfortable chairs that make you want to stay and have another coffee.

Many McDonalds have subdued colors in Europe and other regions. Have a look at the store in Alexandria, VA, it has had a subdued décor package for over a decade and there is one in Asheville NC. that has a grand piano!

The menu screens have also been around for years and even my local coffee shop has a couple, so how new is this strategic change in direction? For some countries not new at all would be my guess.