I would say buy used equipment as much as possible. It takes more time investment in looking for equipment and checking out to see if it works or if you're buying it from someone who's reliable, but in the end you will save a lot of money. For example, I actually bought most of my cafe equipment new, but ended up going for a cheaper ice machine. The machine came looking beat up, but it's performed well and in 7 months I only now am having my first problem with the automatic sensor that switches the machine on to make more ice. It's a minor problem and it still functions well, and will probably be fixed for cheap. Buying a new ice machine would have cost me three times what I paid, and I'm probably spending the same on maintenance costs.
It depends. For sure I would avoid buying a used machine like the plague. Commercial machines must be cleaned for limescale every 12-15 days, otherwise the copper boiler and piping will become blocked- think of it as colestrol in the system of the machine. Once limescale builds up to a certain degree, the machine ceases to function- it will need to be fully stripped and serviced- costing a bomb! Better to go new for the heart of your cafe. For gas hobbes, benches, salamanders no problem. For freezers and refrigeratures, I wold get these fully checked out first by an expert.
used chairs, tables, prep tables, etc. if need be.
Equipment central to your operation you should be careful with.
Ice machine I would get new because of compressor warranty. Fridge... it depends. Espresso machine I would opt for new, unless you are buying used from a reputable shop who is upgrading not one that has gone out of business... and only if they can show you there has been a regular maintenance and cleaning schedule.
We opted for a Hoshizaki Ice machine because of 5 yr compressor and major parts warranty. Our compressor had a problem from the factory and we had a new one air shipped and installed for free in two days. Have you checked rates on restaurant/ refrigeration repair?
Overall, I would opt for new. Business is long term, you shouldn't cut costs on this kind of equipment. What if something broke in the middle of a busy shift because you wanted to save a few dollars. Repair costs and time lost will almost always cost more.
used equipment is a GREAT idea.
however if you have no mechanical inclination you may just save money buying new.
I took my time buying equipment over the last year and have been able to come across some amazing deals. I’ve spent 20% of what I thought I would on operating equipment and furniture.
One of the coffee brewers that I got for next to nothing ended up over filling its boiler, turns out the water inlet valve was bad, it was an easy fix and a cheap replacement part but I know there are allot of people who wouldn’t want to or know how to deal with that kind of thing and end up spending up to a couple hundred getting it fixed. I’ve also had espresso machines completely apart and decaled. got it back together and it works great. Commercial coffee equipment actually is very basic. don’t let the big stainless steel box intimidate you, there is nearly nothing inside
be carefull with commercial refrigerators though. especially with older ones, when a compressor goes out it can be more expensive to replace than buying another one