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FEA advice on buying second-hand equipment

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The UK association recommends operators are mindful that the lure of a quick bargain can result in unwanted consequences

The UK’s Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) has issued new guidance to operators regarding the purchase of second-hand equipment.

FEA recommends any business looking to buy second hand equipment to only do so if the vendor provides a warranty, or extended warranty, to avoid the problems of “buying a dud” and the further expenses faulty equipment can cause. As a rule, the absolute minimum this warranty should be is three months.

The logic here, says FEA, is simple; if the seller won’t support the equipment, then the operator will have to. Any savings made by purchasing cheaper equipment could be negated by the repair costs required to keep it going. Vital spare parts might be in short supply and difficult to source, and may not even be available at all.

Safety issues

If operators are considering buying second-hand equipment, they should check to confirm that there is a ready supply of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts still available. Without this, keeping the equipment operating to its original specification will be more difficult. Indeed, it could be a safety issue for some pieces of equipment, for example thermostats on fryers.

It is also important to factor in the increased running costs older equipment will cause when calculating the savings on second-hand equipment. Operators can’t expect old equipment to be as efficient as new: the “state of the art” is always improving, and what was cutting-edge even five years ago will have been outclassed by now. From ovens to fridges to warewashers, manufacturers have made huge strides in reducing consumption and increasing productivity. Also, the overall efficiency of the machine will decrease in the course of its standard working life.

While the lure of a bargain can be tough to ignore, operators should always look at the material problems that could occur once they have made the purchase, with running costs and ease of repair being the two major ones. Not being offered a warranty is a great early warning that the bargain operators are being presented with might not be the great deal they want it to be.

Further details:

The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) represents over 200 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment – from utensils to full kitchen schemes.

For more information on FEA visit www.fea.org.uk