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In order to become a successful business owner, it will be important to weigh the potential pros and cons of every operating decision you might possibly make. The best business owners will be the ones who can evaluate these decisions objectively and view their business as a comprehensive whole.

Naturally, if you are currently the owner of a restaurant (or related business), you are likely consistently wondering when it will finally be the right time to purchase new equipment. While purchasing equipment too often may sometimes feel wasteful, waiting too long to purchase can create an even more consequential set of issues.

Many restaurant owners will put off the decision to purchase much-needed equipment due to the fact they do not want to endure any major capital losses. However, purchasing equipment for small businesses may be much more doable than you initially assumed. There are actually many different ways that equipment purchases can be financed over time.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most important reasons a restaurant would want to upgrade its equipment. By comparing this list of potential benefits against the cost of purchasing new equipment (hassle, financial, logistical, etc.), you will be able to recognize if it’s the right time for a change.

1. Reduce Maintenance Costs

The most obvious reason that your restaurant might want to purchase newer equipment is that new equipment has significantly lower maintenance costs. Old equipment will begin its decline by operating less efficiently and then will eventually have full system breakdowns. If paying to fix a machine each month (or however often) is more than the cost of financing new equipment, then you are essentially losing money by not upgrading.

Additionally, purchasing new equipment may also decrease your monthly energy bills. Newer restaurant equipment is typically much more energy efficient and is capable of producing greater outputs over time. Reduced energy costs is yet another variable to keep in mind when determining whether purchasing new equipment is actually worth it.

2. Increase Quality of Food

Another reason why you may want to purchase new restaurant equipment is that—in general—newer equipment will typically yield a much higher quality product. When older machines begin to break down (and even accumulate contaminants over time), newer machines are much more likely to perform exactly as they were designed.

Newer equipment is also able to enjoy the benefits of significant strides in research and development that have taken place over time. Having access to the latest technology and using equipment that is entirely clean will undeniably help improve your business’ typical output.

3. Improve Operations

In addition to quality, new machines are also recognized for their increased levels of efficiency. In other words, new machines require significantly less input (time, effort, and energy) in order to yield the same results. This can have a profound effect on seemingly every dimension of your business.

Though efficient equipment will be useful in all types of restaurant, this is especially important in the fast food and quick service industries. When all else is equal, being able to serve three customers in the amount of time it used to take to serve two could potentially increase your operating profits by more than 50%.

4. Increase Capital Wealth

In order to justify investing in new restaurant equipment, it may help to recognize that equipment is not an ordinary purchase, but an investment. Though most types of equipment will be relatively illiquid, they will all still have at least some sort of material value attached to them.

Classifying your equipment as an asset—rather than a one-time expense—you will be able to help increase both the paper and the material value of your business. This will be very helpful in the event that you are trying to get a loan, attract an outside investor, or even sell your restaurant to another owner. The attraction of new equipment will be even greater if your business is currently renting (and thus unable to claim the equipment as an asset).

5. Improved Business Image

As a restaurant owner, you are surely well aware that each of your decisions is a direct reflection of your business values. In the restaurant industry—one that is incredibly reliant on attracting repeat customers—creating a strong first impression will be incredibly important.

By investing in new equipment that the customers will see (cash registers, payment processes, soda fountains, etc.), you will have expressed that you care about their well-being and believe that they deserve the best. Similarly, all of the equipment that will be used by your employees will demonstrate your willingness to invest in them.

Things to Think About when Purchasing New Equipment

Naturally, there are many different variables that will need to be considered whenever you are purchasing new restaurant equipment. Purchasing equipment for small businesses can have a major impact on overall performance.

  • What kind of equipment are specifically wishing to purchase?
  • How will finance your purchase over time? Will you discount the purchase using a straight-line depreciation model?
  • What is your current budget? Would it be in your best interest to purchase discounted equipment in bulk?
  • When was the last time you replaced each piece of equipment? How long are you hoping for your new equipment to last?

Fortunately, there are many flexible financing options that are likely well within your reach. By taking the time to answer these brief, yet important, questions, it will be much easier to identify if a new piece of equipment is actually beneficial.

Conclusion

As any seasoned restaurant owner will tell you, purchasing new equipment often marks a major milestone in the restaurant’s overall progression. However, properly looking towards the future will require a very careful understanding of the equipment situation in the present. In order to make sure that you make the choice that is in your restaurant’s best interest, it will be crucial to do plenty of research and to compare the pros and cons that come with each possible decision.

Andrew Paniello | Andrew attended the University of Colorado and earned degrees in Finance and Political Science (Philosophy minor). He is currently a freelance writer with a primary emphasis on business topics. In his free time, Andrew enjoys playing piano, painting, hiking, and playing basketball.