Advice for Buying a Restaurant and Selling a Restaurant

Used Restaurant Equipment and Vacant Space - A Recipe for Success

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Jan 28, 2013 4:25:00 PM

restaurant for lease

Starting on a shoestring?  Here’s the restaurant brokers recommendation – rent a vacant restaurant with used restaurant equipment.

We know that not everyone is loaded with capital or has a rich uncle on the sidelines ready to finance your restaurant dream.  Thankfully, that’s not the only way to get started in this business.  For those on a fixed budget, limited budget or even no budget, consider looking at a vacant space that has used restaurant equipment in place.  It’s a cheap and simple solution to get into business quickly and with the lowest costs. 

What are the pros and cons of renting a vacant space with used restaurant equipment?  Well, the positives definitely outnumber the negatives.


A fully equipped kitchen is very costly to set up.  Compare pricing on just basic elements like a double fryer on popular equipment seller websites and a single piece ranges from $1,175.00 to $2,195.00 for new or used.   A stainless steel prep station with refrigeration on bottom can be $5,668 according to at least one website.  With these figures, it’s no wonder that a commercial kitchen costs upwards of $50,000 to $100,000 to set up.  Compare that with taking over a vacant restaurant for rent and paying nothing for the business.  Which sounds better to you?

Need another positive reason for taking over a vacant restaurant for rent with used restaurant equipment?  How about opening fast?  Time is money.  You can cut your time to open your business dramatically by taking over something ready to go versus trying to purchase equipment, deal with equipment cancellations or supplier back orders.  Even if you do assemble everything you need, you still have to schedule and deal with plumbers, electricians and more to get it all installed.

Want another helpful reason to take over a vacant restaurant for rent with used restaurant equipment?  Here’s a hint.  It also saves you money.  Landlords often provide a few months of free or reduced rent when you’re starting out.  You can use that free rent period to be making sales instead of arranging equipment and getting the business ready.  That’s free cash flow – just what you need when you’re launching a new restaurant.


Are there some minuses?  Yes, but the biggest negative to getting a vacant restaurant for lease with used restaurant equipment is finding one.  This type of listing is a hot commodity and though these restaurant brokers have several of these listed at any given time, they move quickly.

One other disadvantage to leasing a business with used restaurant equipment could be equipment condition.  Depending on the situation, the used restaurant equipment may have a few miles on it.  It may not be clean, shiny and perfect.  It may even need minor repairs but compare that to the cost of buying new equipment and you’ll be saying, “oh yeah, this makes some sense.”  On the other hand, as restaurant brokers we have seen six burner stoves with ten years on them going strong.  The very construction of most kitchen hardware means it is built to last.

How do you overcome the down side to leasing a vacant restaurant space with used equipment?  The best advice we can give you is to find a strong restaurant broker.  He or she will have an entire list of inspectors and repair specialists to assess the condition and operation of the used restaurant equipment before you take it over.  Another hint from the restrestaurants for saleaurant brokers – do not sign the lease before you get the gas and electric turned on for the inspections.

At the end of the day, if you’re low on funds but want to open a restaurant, taking over a vacant space for lease with used restaurant equipment is an inexpensive and practical way to get started.

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Topics: Leasing a Restaurant