Buying Restaurant Equipment Online vs. In-Store

There are many ways to buy just about everything these days, and foodservice equipment is no different. While online shopping provides a quick and easy means of acquiring supplies, in-store shopping allows operators to get a feel for items before making a purchase. Both in-person and online restaurant supply store shopping have their benefits and offer unique means of stocking up on restaurant equipment.

Advantages of Buying In-Store

See Equipment Up Close

A significant benefit of buying restaurant equipment supplies in-store is that purchasers can have a hands-on experience before deciding what works best for them. Purchasers can open doors, touch knobs, and get a feel for how certain pieces of equipment will function in their space. Seeing equipment in person makes it easier to decide which features best suit the purchaser’s foodservice operation.

Consult With A Rep In-Person

Another advantage of buying foodservice equipment in-store is consulting with a dealer sales representative before making a final purchase. Dealer sales reps can provide valuable expertise during the buying process. For example, a qualified rep can help purchasers find equipment that suits their menu and kitchen. Some dealers even have Certified Foodservice Professionals trained as sales reps to find equipment for different kitchen layouts with specific features.

Immediate Gratification

An additional benefit of shopping for foodservice equipment in-store is the immediate gratification of taking your purchase home that day. When an item is in stock, buyers can put it to use immediately instead of waiting days or weeks for delivery.


Installations are a plus when it comes to brick-and-mortar dealers. Most of them offer installation options and, if they don’t, can connect customers with a trusted local authorized service agent (ASA) to schedule installations. ASAs ensure the installation work is completed in accordance with factory guidelines, which makes sure that the warranty stays intact.

Additionally, these dealers can help ensure purchasers know the local utility requirements for a successful installation. After installation, some brick-and-mortar stores also offer kitchen demonstrations that teach buyers to use their newly purchased equipment.

Advantages of Buying Equipment Online

Save Time

With online shopping growing in popularity, one-fifth of foodservice operators now begin looking for kitchen equipment with an online search. Buying online offers purchasers much more flexibility than traditional in-person store options. When shopping online, buyers can shop when and where it’s convenient, which is crucial to smaller businesses. For small foodservice operations, online shopping allows owners to manage their businesses instead of leaving to visit an in-person store.

Ability To Self Educate

An additional benefit of purchasing foodservice equipment online is the ability to self-educate on your own time. Thanks to videos, blogs, and product selector tools, it has never been easier for operators to learn what type of equipment is right for them. Not only does self-education help in the buying process, but it also teaches buyers how to care for and maintain their kitchen equipment.

Compare Different Brands

Another advantage of online shopping is comparing different foodservice equipment brands. Online dealers make it easy to compare and contrast various equipment models and prices so buyers can make an informed decision.


Most online dealers also provide installation services and white glove delivery, but be advised that the responsibility of ensuring the proper measurements will fall on the buyer. If you go this route, be sure to measure all door spaces leading to the kitchen inside and out. Make sure the proper space, left to right and vertically, is available at the end location and the transit path. Also, the proper electrical and/or gas and water need to be present at the end location. These are things that a Dealer Sales Rep can help with, but the internet will not.

Before you buy, it’s a smart idea to take commercial kitchen equipment for a spin.

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Topics: Foodservice Industry Trends