Top 5 Most Commonly Financed Restaurant Equipment Items

Financing equipment can help operators stay competitive without eating up the budget.
Financing equipment can help operators stay competitive without eating up the budget. Thinkstock

Here are some of the big items operators finance

Restaurant industry sales are projected to total $782.7 billion in 2016 and equal four percent of the United States gross domestic product, according to the National Restaurant Association. To support this growth, restaurants will need equipment. The right equipment with the latest technology promotes efficiency in the kitchen and carries many financial advantages; yet purchasing the necessary equipment is also the biggest hindrance in starting a full-service restaurant.

Financing is one of the smartest ways to get the latest and greatest oven, freezer, or specialty equipment for a new menu item. Plus, restaurant equipment financing is associated with lower monthly payments and is typically easier to obtain than a bank loan.

Working with hundreds of borrowers, equipment sellers and lenders across the restaurant industry every day, we’ve discovered the top five most commonly financed pieces of restaurant equipment:

1. POS Systems
Point of Sale (POS) systems are critical to ensuring a smooth and memorable guest experience, and require constant updating as technology evolves. When you consider new forms of payment, new security requirements, and the migration from traditional in-store systems to cloud-based versions, having the latest and greatest POS system can be an expensive endeavor.

It’s no wonder POS systems are the number one restaurant equipment item financed. POS system financing offers restauranteurs a broad variety of payment plans, allowing them to preserve cash flow for updating not only their POS system, but the other products and services that matter most to the success of their business.

2. Refrigerators

Refrigeration is a fundamental element of any restaurant, but all things cold need constant maintenance to keep them dependable. Refrigeration units that aren’t dependable put efficiency, food products, and the entire restaurant operation at risk. For these reasons, refrigeration is an excellent candidate for financing.

Refrigeration equipment financing has many advantages over a straight cash purchase. Like POS System financing, restaurant equipment leasing preserves cash flow for other activities. Restauranteurs who lease or finance their refrigeration equipment can also return their equipment at the end of the lease, or make a final buyout payment as little as one dollar.

3. Dishwashers

Dishwashers update nearly as fast as computers or POS Systems do. Add service fees, maintenance costs, and constant spending for water and chemicals, and dishwashers quickly become the most convenient money pit in the kitchen. Upgrading may save time and energy in the long run, but requires a significant cash outlay.

Dishwashers have made our lives easier, and now financing makes the process of acquiring them easier too. Leasing larger, water-saving dishwashers increases efficiency while helping restauranteurs build credit. Dishwasher financing also often includes the cost of maintenance and chemicals, streamlining expenses to one, low monthly payment.

4. Ovens

Like all things cold need constant maintenance, all things hot need flexibility to accommodate new menu items. Commercial ovens are great for large batches of bakery items. Conveyor ovens are perfect for bagels. Pizza ovens are ideal for… well, you know, not to mention standard convection ovens, microwave ovens, brick ovens, and more.

A top-quality oven—no matter the type—can be financed. Having worked with restaurants large and small, we’ve heard a few oven financing success stories. More sophisticated ovens offering higher power output and advanced air flow circulation technology make it possible to use the oven for long hours without the risk of overheating. Advanced settings for virtually any type of cuisine come standard and promote efficient cooking.

5. Signage

Signage is often the first thing a customer sees when visiting a new restaurant, so it’s important to keep fresh. Sun and exposure to the elements inflict wear and tear on external signage, and outdoor LED signage is becoming more popular as well. Indoors, new menu items and migration to digital menu boards promise big (and expensive) changes, especially at the point-of-sale.

Financing signage allows restauranteurs to take advantage of the latest technology and make a great first impression. Sign leasing is an especially good option for restauranteurs remodeling or reimaging existing locations, for franchisees with directives to upgrade signage, or for any owner-operator anticipating a new seasonal menu item or short-term promotion.

Cory Damm

Cory Damm is the vice president of client services, GM fitness and food & beverage vertical market groups at LeaseQ, a marketplace bringing automation and efficiency to small business borrowers looking to finance equipment to start and grow their businesses. LeaseQ’s proprietary cloud-based platform streamlines the equipment finance process for business borrowers, equipment sellers and equipment financial services companies.

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