Restaurant equipment leasing

Hospitality is big business in the US. There are more than 660,000 restaurants across the nation, plus hundreds of thousands more bars and cafes.

Chris Godfrey

Page written by Chris Godfrey. Last reviewed on July 19, 2024. Next review due October 1, 2025.

Every one of these establishments needs specialized equipment to operate. However, in an industry where margins are always tight, paying for the tools and machines they need can have a major impact on a restaurant’s valuable working capital – which is why so many US eateries choose to lease the equipment they need. Pay over time at the lowest cost, secure the best tax deductions, choose to buy or return the equipment when the contract ends. 

Take the strain off cashflow as you feed your hunger for success – give your restaurant the equipment it needs with a low or no deposit restaurant equipment lease. 

What is classed as restaurant equipment?

No matter if it’s a full-service restaurant, a fast-food eatery, bar, pub, café, even a food truck, almost everything a hospitality business needs to prepare, make, and serve food and drink to paying customers can be classed as restaurant equipment. 

Benefits of leasing restaurant equipment

Paying for restaurant equipment out of valuable working capital does not make business sense – which is why thousands of US restaurants, cafes and bars secure the tools and machinery they need with a flexible, cost-effective, restaurant equipment lease. This type of financing offers a host of unique benefits:

  • Take the strain off cashflow and protect valuable working capital.
  • Restaurant equipment leasing often offers lower monthly payments than finance loans.
  • Can be the most tax-efficient way to buy the equipment you need.
  • Gives you the option to return or buy the equipment at contract end.
  • Can sometimes be extended to match dips in cashflow.
  • Can give you the restaurant equipment you need very quickly – perfect for start-ups.
  • 100% lease may be available – no deposit necessary.

Affordable access to equipment

Preserving valuable working capital is the number one priority for many US restaurants and bars. A low or no deposit restaurant equipment lease gives business owners fast and affordable access to the equipment they need without impacting cashflow. Ideal for start-ups and franchise operations, leasing lets you pay over time to match your budget, and often, on terms to suit the growth plans and seasonal rhythm of your restaurant.

Tax deductibility for leased equipment

Leasing can be the most tax-efficient way to secure tools and machinery for your restaurant. Unlike standard instalment loans, where only paid interest is fully tax-deductible, your entire lease payments (not just the interest), may be deducted as an expense. This is a significant tax write-off that can simultaneously lower your tax bill and reduce the overall cost of your restaurant equipment.

Ideal for short-term equipment needs

Some restaurant equipment may only be needed for short periods, (such as a new restaurant that is uncertain of the level of customers it will attract), which means buying with cash or entering into a long-term instalment loan can be a bad idea. Instead, leasing can offer business owners short-term equipment hire, with an option to extend the lease as necessary, giving them the best of both worlds. Lease the equipment you need for only as long as you need it. 

Purchase option at the end of lease

There are two main types of restaurant equipment lease. Both offer the option to buy the equipment at contract end:

Operating lease: You pay a fixed monthly sum for use of the equipment and for a set period of time (12, 24, 36 months etc). When the contract expires, you may either buy the equipment for its fair-market value, extend the rental for a further 12 months or more, or you can simply return the tools and machinery to the lessor (the equipment provider) with nothing more to pay. (Subject to any usage limitations). 

  • Fixed payments for easy accounting and cashflow management.
  • Absolute lowest payment.
  • Set contract period to aid financial planning – supports your budget.
  • Latest equipment.
  • Option to buy, continue renting, or return the equipment at contract end.
  • Simple agreement.

Capital lease: You also pay a fixed monthly sum for a set period, but you automatically buy the equipment for a pre-agreed ‘buyout fee’ (typically only $1) at contract end. When the contract expires and you have paid the buyout fee, the equipment is yours with nothing more to pay. 

  • Fixed payments for easy accounting and cashflow management.
  • $1 buyout at end of the contract in many cases.
  • Set contract period to aid financial planning – supports your budget.
  • Latest equipment.
  • Simple documentation.
  • Excellent option for those wishing to buy but with insufficient cash at time of purchase.

Drawbacks of leasing restaurant equipment

Restaurant equipment leases are a great way to secure the tools and machinery your hospitality business needs without impacting cashflow, and they come with many unique advantages. However, leasing also has some disadvantages that business owners must be aware of:

No equity building opportunity

A lease is a long-term rental agreement, with no ownership by the lessee (you). This means you cannot build any equity in the equipment unless you opt to buy at the end of the contract. If you choose to return the equipment, you will receive no share of its residual value. 

Higher-interest rates on leases

Because they can present an increased risk and the equipment may suffer severe wear and tear during the lease period, lenders will often charge a higher interest rate on leases compared to standard instalment loans. 

Early termination fees

Restaurant equipment leases are fixed-term agreements, usually with no option for an early exit. If you decide you no longer want the equipment and wish to get out of the lease, you may be liable for an early termination fee.

Who qualifies for restaurant equipment leasing?

Restaurant equipment leasing is available to almost every type of US hospitality business. No matter if you’re a sole trader, a small SME, a mid-size or large company, restaurant, café, or bar, or even if you have weak credit and have been turned down elsewhere, there’s a restaurant equipment lease for you. 

Get started with Swoop

Restaurant equipment leasing is a specialist financial area with differing rules of application and requiring deep knowledge of this business sector from the lender. US restaurants, bars, and cafes seeking funding may find themselves forever searching and making applications to lender after lender without success. The delays this can create could cause them to lose revenue and leave their business vulnerable to competition. Instead, working with a broker, who can access restaurant equipment leasing from a wide range of lenders is a better way to go. No more cold calls and endless demands for information, just tell us what you need and leave the rest to us. 

Give your hospitality business the equipment it needs to grow. Register with Swoop to find the best rates, the best terms and the best restaurant equipment lease today.

Written by

Chris Godfrey

Chris is a freelance copywriter and content creator. He has been active in the marketing, advertising, and publishing industries for more than twenty-five years. Writing for Wells Fargo Bank, Visa, Experian, Ebay, Flywire, insurers and pension funds, his words have appeared online and in print to inform, entertain and explain the complex world of US consumer and business finance.

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