November 5, 2018 Blog

NICK Feature Question: Where do you purchase your commercial equipment?

Lindsey Richardson

The Network for Incubator and Commissary Kitchens (NICK) is the largest network of shared kitchen professionals sharing their knowledge and insights daily. Below is a summary of a recent conversation regarding establishing a new kitchen near a competitor. Answers may have been edited for readability.

Question:

Where do you purchase your commercial equipment? Do you use local purveyors or large internet resources?

Answers:

  • When we could, we purchased equipment from local food businesses that didn’t make it –  found some very good deals on Facebook Marketplace, bought some things at auctions, and the rest was new from webstaurantstore or similar suppliers.

  • Although we were fortunate to be able to purchase a lot of the equipment new when we started, much of our large equipment purchased later is used from auctions/closed businesses. Many items such as commercial mixers, ovens, fryers, are going to last forever with proper maintenance. Items such as refrigeration or weigh-fill, are likely best bought new, if possible, or hardly used. Other items like your ice machine or dish machine that require very regular maintenance and special cleaning/deliming are best leased and not owned.

  • WebstaurantStore – if you pay the membership fee to save shipping.

  • We used WebstaurantStore for most of our large equipment purchases. I see that Costco also sells commercial equipment that I’ll be looking into as well.
    • In my clients’ and my experience, Webstaurantstore is a great place for small wares, parts, and some consumables, but is a gamble on larger items.
  • I always get quotes from the local restaurant supply stores, then shop around online. I usually go with the local guys – I like the relationship building. Smallwares comes generally from the least expensive source, taking quality into account.

  • We have great family owned commercial distributors in the Sacramento region. You might scope out warehouses in your region that sell almost new or that re-sell equipment after liquidations. Also sometimes businesses closing or that are struggling, are willing to sell equipment either permanently or temporarily (that they’re not currently using).
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