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Sep 3, 2007 11:42 PM

Defunct restaurant equipment auctions

I'm in the market for a stove, preferably a used one of commercial quality. I like the idea of buying from a restaurant that's going out of business. Has anyone done this for their home?

Restaurants go out of business every day. Some restaurant owners will end up selling their fixtures themselves, on site. Some of the stuff will be trucked off and consolidated for an auction sale. Some of the auctioned stuff will end up for resale at a restaurant supply house (I imagine this is the easiest source for a consumer, but the most expensive of these three paths).

How does a consumer find out about these three paths for equipment auctioning? Is there a national site that tells us about upcoming auctions?

I'm in Orange County, California, and am looking for any of these avenues for a bargain on a 30" stove. I could schlep up to the restaurant supply row on Washington Ave in Los Angeles, but am more interested in going to the auction myself and bidding against the resale guys. Any local tips?

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  1. I've had good luck at a few auctions run by these guys:

    But they're in San Francisco, so probably of limited help to you down south.

    A restaurant auction is both really cool (wow! look at all that stuff!) and really sad
    (awww, they tried hard but it didn't work out). Prices can be very good and you
    generally need to be ready to haul out what you've bought immediately.

    1. 1st off you may have a hard time finding a "professional" 30" stove. The other problem is that true professional stoves aren't insulated. They can't be installed next to wood cabines w/o a serious threat of a fire. You might have better luck trying Craig's List for people who are redoing their kitchens and getting rid of the "pseudo professional" range ie.
      Good luck.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jnk

        Good points. There's also the issue of residential gas fittings being too small for commercial fixtures, and I was planning on weeding through a lot of unsuitable stoves to find the One Stove that Rules Them All.

        But the craigslist idea is a good one, and probably more realistic for my criteria. One more site I'll have to get in the habit of reading every day!

        1. re: jnk

          Just to piggyback on what JNK has already said... the amount of natural gas required for "professional" grade stoves often requires a 3/4" supply pipe to accomodate the larger burners. This can be a very costly venture in itself depending on the location of your main relative to your kitchen, if your place is on a slab or raised foundation, etc.

          Also, you may not find these stoves very convenient either. Some have pilot lights that can get very hot in the summer, while others require an external lighting source (i.e. match). The features that one finds convenient on a typical residential stove may not be on a true professional stove setup either.

          Your money might be better spent on a new or used model meant for residential use that has some of the features you may appreciate like larger burners, warming trays and convection. Just about every major appliance manufacturer offers at least a few models with varying levels of bells & whistles.

          1. re: jnk

            What Jnk said - I bought a Wolf stove from a restaurant for less than $200 only to find out that I would have to do about $5,000 in insulation and renovation for my kitchen to accommodate the stove.

            I sold it for $500.

          2. I'll bet your best chance of finding a restaurant equipment sale or auction or a stove would be to keep an eye on the Sunday paper.

            1. The California section of the LA times has an auction section on Saturdays. There are always restaurant equipment auctions listed.

              2 Replies
                1. Make sure you have a way of getting it home right then and there. Sometimes they'll give you until the end of the day to arrange to pick it up later, but better off being prepared by renting a van or truck, if you don't own one.

                  edit: duh, already been said.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dukegirl

                    >>duh, already been said.

                    But well worth repeating. If it's a sizable enough auction, you'll probably be able to find someone around willing to haul it for you at a fair price, but you shouldn't count on it.

                    If you go to one as a spectator first -- it shouldn't cost anything to watch -- you'll catch on to the whole thing pretty quick. But be careful, they're a bit addicting.