Look for the blue NSF sticker on any and all restaurant equipment. If the equipment has not been approved by NSF, it is not suitable for use in a commercial kitchen. Hefty fines can be levied by inspectors who find non-NSF approved restaurant equipment in your kitchen.
Limit the amount of restaurant equipment you buy. Keep your menu in mind and focus on keeping your kitchen compact and efficient. This means buying as few pieces of restaurant equipment as possible to fit your space.
If you are buying used restaurant equipment, get to know the seller beforehand. Make sure that you are comfortable with the seller and you feel you can trust them.
Make certain that all parts work. If you are looking at used equipment being sold by a restaurant owner, ask to come see the pieces in person so that you can make sure everything is in operating condition before making the purchase.
Bring in a 3rd party resource. If you don’t know the dealer well, have a certified technician come in with you to inspect the restaurant equipment.
Don’t get pressured into a purchase. You want to feel comfortable with the restaurant equipment you end up purchasing, don’t let a salesperson sell you something you don’t need.
Make sure your restaurant equipment will meet local codes. Your local health, fire and building code department will be able to provide you with spec sheets that detail what they do and don’t allow in a commercial kitchen.
Be aware of your city’s zoning regulations. Many factors can contribute to restaurants receiving or being denied approval. The standards can be different on a city, county and state level.
Make sure your building can support numerous commercial appliances. Despite their charm, many old buildings simply do not have adequate electricity to support a modern restaurant.