any opinions on pizza prep and other refrigeration?

Hi. Starting a first shop and am trying to get opinions on refrigeration and a refrigerated pizza prep. I guess I’m looking for a 5 foot pizza/sandwich prep also a two door refrigerator and a single door both stainless fronts no glass. Any favorite name brands any brand names to stay away from? My budget is tight so I will only be looking for used units. Thanks, any opinions greatly appreciated.

We have never had luck with used. Never. Either there is unexplained water, ice, freezing, not keeping cool etc and they NEVER have lasted longer than a year. After 17 years we have bought a few.

One way you can get new cheaper is

order online
look for coupon codes, free shipping
look into sandwich units rather than pizza. The shelf where you make them is smaller but will still work and actualy has worked better for us :wink:

Just my 2 cents

We have done just fine with used… but you have to be selective as to condition. Look for a place that went out of business after a year or two rather than a long standing open business getting rid of equipment they are through with.

Hi Ronv

Kris makes a good point and I concur. We do not sell or recommend used refrigeration.

At one time we had two technicians in our shop that were certified refrigeration service men, They did much more than refrigeration but they thoroughly went over every used refrigerated unit we sold. The problem is that refrigeration compressors are sealed and there is no way to check that unit or recondition it.

Most every unit we sold failed within 6 to 18 months. Unfortunately many buyers had food spoil and lost more money than they saved buying used.

Bodegahway makes a point: If you can find a place that failed within a couple years of opening and the units have not sat around disconnected you may get something usable.

George Mills

Thanks for the the replies, very good information. I saw a refrigerator refrigerant/sealer can at the local walmart. I was wondering if the sealing agent in the refrigerant actually seals the compressor if it has leaks. I bought some cheap equipment years ago to install refrigerant in an aoutomobile a/c and it actually worked for me, although next summer I had to charge it again. If I bought used and it needed refrigerant in the compressor could I do the same? I am on such a tight budget that I am forced to spend as small amount as possible on used equipment.

I wish it were that simple. You are going to find after years in this biz how to fix, bandaid or whatever just about everything. I actually enjoy this part of my job. The first few years we spent lots on getting stupid things fixed but always watched the repairs being done. Now we can deal with just about anything except as george said compressors. The amount of money you will end up spending will be more than you save. Just as he said it is going to happen on a night you have lots of product underneath and usually on a Friday so you won’t have any luck finding an emergency unit.

We save alot of our old equipment because you never know when you need something from one. Two of them are used maketables we bought that died after 6 months. I remember when the one went out we could feel it coming so each night we would empty the bottom…sure enough the one night we didn’t it stopped working.

I would cut corners somewhere else. This in my opinion is not the place to cut costs.

Our first makeline was used when we got it. Less than two years old from a failed PJs. It ran nearly 10 years for us. During the first 7 years I think we spent about $300 total on repairs for that machine. For years 8 & 9 we spent about $300- $400 each year. Year 10 we hit $600 before I dumped it for another lightly used unit which has been running well since we got it a year or two ago. We also had a used drink cooler that I got for $200 that ran for 5 years.

In our second store, all the units came with the place. There were three fridge units and three lincoln ovens. The ovens required periodic repairs from heating coils (electric ovens) and blowers that I replaced myself to electronic work that I had a pro do. The fridge units were all about 6 years old when I bought the business lock stock and barrel and they all ran for 10 years with no repairs at all until I sold them all to one buyer along with the ovens.

Short version is, I am not shy about used equipment, but you do take a chance.

I’ve bought new equipment, on the theory that new equals good equals reliable. HAH. New equipment these days is preplanned to break, so you will have to fix/replace it - resulting in more money for the manufacturers. Hobart is a great name for glasswashers, right? I had an old one that lasted- major repair free- for almost thirty years. Hobart finally quit making parts for it, as they realized that as long as we could cheaply fix the old one, no one would buy a new one. So I had to buy a new Hobart glasswasher. I’m on my third MAJOR repair (over $600 equals major) in under ten years. POS - and I don’t mean Point of Sale.
Anyway, rant over… I only buy used equipment. You pay bottom dollar, plan on having it repaired by a competent repair guy, and end up paying 1/3 what a POS new one would cost.

Everyone has their opinions. I have lived well on used, and a few new items here and there.

New gives you a warranty for a little while. May or may not be worth the price.
Used gives you lower outlay at purchase with risk of catastrophic failure or hidden damage.

Both give benefits and drawbacks. Gotta decide how much risk you are willing to assume and how much you want to learn about refrigeration equipment. Used means you had better be good at knowing what is a good deal/risk and what is a pure out speculation. It is an art form that some have flourished in. Some have lost their business paying the price.

I would recommend as big a pizza table as you can get. I bought a 6.5 foot one used for $2000 and in the 2 years I’ve been open I have put about $3000 into it. I would have balked at spending $6000 for a new one but would have been better off. Also, when planning refrigeration, think about where you will cross stack your 30+ dough boxes and store the other 30+ boxes of dough that are ready to go. My 6x6 walk in is barely adequate. I did buy the walk in used and have had no problems.

Nick states.

New gives you a warranty for a little while. May or may not be worth the price.

May I point out that most all compressors have a five year warranty and we replace several of them every year.

George Mills

I’m just getting a purchased new 2 door upright freezer repaired (compressor) which is not yet 4 years old at a cost of over $3k Luckily we pay a premium on our insurance that covers this type of breakdown so it will only cost the liability excess of $200. The unit retailed for $6,900 new but we got it for $3,900 as a showroom floor display unit. It was on display (never used or turned on) for 12 months before they sold it.
We just purchasd a 3 door upright freezer to replace a chest type one for $1,800 which is not yet 5 years old and had a new compressor put in 2 weeks before Christmas. It is in “as new condition”. These go for $4,000 - $5,000 on Ebay so we got a good buy.
Now days new equipment doesn’t last as well as old models so if you look around you can pick up some good buys and save a fair bit, especially if you get a fair few years maintenance free out of it.

I have a huge 100" plus Delfield Pizza Prep table that I bought used. It is quite old. I definitely recommend buying new or at least one with a warranty. This unit worked great when we first hooked it up despite being a serious frankenstein under the hood. Now, after 14 months, we have put almost $2200 into it to keep it running. The thing with used equipment is knowing when to cut your losses. For me, the first repair was $1000 compressor. I should have bitten the bullet then and bought a new one then. Since the new compressor, I’ve had a series of $200-300 issues and each time I say its going to be the last.

Now I’m in an old table for $3200 plus the custom welding for the shelving above it and its probably only got a year or two of life on it.

Hope you can learn from my mistake!

As for the guy using a sandwich prep table, I was wondering about that. We use 18" peels for 16" pizzas and I’m concerned the sandwich prep table won’t be sufficient. What’s your experience with it?


remote refrigeration is the way to go

Buying used is only as smart of an idea as the relationship you have with the guy who’s gonna fix it…

I have an amazing guy who loves my food and booze and works in TRADE (under utilized nowadays) (yes im lucky). therefore EVERYTHING in my place is used. It works really well for me–INSPECT this stuff!! your guy will do it for free if he’s worth his salt. i buy a compressor now n again, but like george said above, they’re warrantied for a cupl years (not five) (i buy online ymmv). craigslist(no warranties) is your friend—around here theres always someone who needs to sell-------sorry–but 50 cents on the dollar is asking price…usually get down to .25—.35 cents on dollar or better…if you have a bit of a cash put aside there are some killer deals out there…