Depreciation & scrapping: A guide for restaurant owners

Written by: 

Every restaurant owner knows that equipment doesn't last forever. Whether it's an oven that no longer heats properly or a fridge that doesn't maintain the right temperature, there comes a time when old assets need to be replaced. This is where the concepts of scrapping and depreciation come into play. But what do they really mean, why are they important, and how should restaurant owners deal with depreciation and scrapping?

What is scrapping?

Retirement means that an asset, such as machinery or equipment, is taken out of use because it is either obsolete, does not function properly, or no longer meets the needs of the company. However, retirement not only means physically removing the asset, but also writing off its book value from the company's financial records. It is thus an important step in keeping the company's accounts transparent and accurate.

What is depreciation?

Depreciation is an accounting technique used to spread the cost of an asset over its useful life. Instead of recording the entire cost of a new oven or refrigerator as an expense in the year it is purchased, a restaurant owner can use depreciation to spread the cost over several years. This helps create a more realistic picture of the profitability and financial health of the business.

What is the difference between scrapping and depreciation?

While both scrapping and depreciation are about managing the company's assets, they have different focuses.

  • Disposal is a physical and operational process where an asset is taken out of use because it no longer meets the company's requirements. It can include selling, donating, or simply leaving it for recycling.

  • Depreciation, on the other hand, is an accounting process that gradually reduces the value of an asset in the company's financial accounts. This is done to reflect the expected decline in value of the asset over time.

It is important to note that an asset can be fully depreciated in the accounts but still be in use in the business. Conversely, an asset that has recently been scrapped may have a book value that needs to be adjusted by a write-off or a direct write-down.


Depreciation methods:

There are several methods for depreciating restaurant equipment and the most appropriate one is often very situation-specific. Below you will find some depreciation methods:

Straight-line depreciation

This is the most common and simplest method. It reduces the book value of the asset by a fixed amount each year, usually based on its original cost and expected life. This is a good method for equipment that loses its value evenly over time.

Degressive depreciation

Degressive depreciation is a method of depreciating a fixed percentage of the remaining book value of the asset each year. Unlike straight-line depreciation, where a fixed amount is depreciated each year, declining balance depreciation adjusts to the remaining book value of the asset.

To understand this better, let's take an example. Suppose you have an oven that originally cost €10,000 and you choose a depreciation rate of 20% per year. In the first year, the depreciation would be 20% of SEK 10 000, which is SEK 2 000. The remaining book value would then be SEK 8,000.

For the second year, the depreciation would be 20% of the new book value, i.e. 20% of SEK 8,000, which is SEK 1,600. This continues year after year, making the depreciation amount smaller over time as it is based on a lower and lower book value.

This method is often useful to match an asset's depreciation with its actual loss of value over time, especially for assets that lose their value rapidly in the early years.

Direct impairment

This is a method where the full cost of an asset is depreciated in one go instead of being spread out over several years. This is usually reserved for assets with a very short lifespan or in cases where the value of the asset immediately decreases drastically. Direct depreciation can also be used for assets that have been scrapped and where the remaining book value must be adjusted to zero or to the amount expected to be received upon sale.

The unit method

In this method, the value of the asset is depreciated based on its actual use rather than time. For example, if an oven has a life expectancy of 10,000 hours of use, each hour of use would result in a certain amount of depreciation.

Choice of method

Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages, and which one is most appropriate depends on a range of factors such as the type of equipment, the company's financial situation, and tax legislation. It is therefore important to consult with a accountant or financial advisor to determine which method is best suited to your business.

Practical tips for scrapping:

  1. Documentation: Always keep complete and accurate records. Document when and why an asset was disposed of, including technical or performance issues.

  2. Consult an accounting expert:: Before you make a large disposal, talk to a accountant or financial manager. They can help you understand the financial and tax implications.

  3. Market research: Before discarding or selling an asset, research its second-hand market value. Sometimes you can sell it second-hand and benefit from a possible capital gain.

  4. Alternative uses: If the equipment is no longer useful in the restaurant, consider whether it can be used in another way or donated to a charity.

Example: Straight-line depreciation and scrapping 

So let's take an example.

Let's say that as a restaurant owner you decide to buy a new stove for 20,000 euros. After consulting with your accountant , you decide to use linear depreciation to amortize the cost over a period of 4 years. This would mean an annual depreciation of 20,000/4 = 5000€. 

After 4 years of use, you notice that the stove no longer meets your needs, and you decide to scrap it. At this point, you have already written off its entire original cost of €20,000, so its book value is now €0.

You put the stove on the block and a sharp-eyed person is willing to give you €3,000 for your old stove. This would generate a capital gain of €3,000 as the book value is 0. This capital gain would also be taxable. Thus, if the tax rate is 30%, the tax on the capital gain would be 3,000 × 0.30 = €900.

In this example, by using linear depreciation, you would have spread the cost of your stove by 5,000 SEK over 4 years, which would have created a more realistic cost picture and thus result compared to if you had taken up the entire cost in year 1. In addition, the scrapping and sale of the stove would have resulted in a taxable capital gain of 900 SEK and a net gain of 2100 SEK. 


Understanding the process and importance of scrapping and depreciation is crucial for every restaurant owner. Not only to maintain accurate accounting, but also to make informed decisions about when and how to replace old equipment. By having the right knowledge and following best practices, restaurant owners can ensure that they manage these processes in a financially sustainable and compliant manner.


Frequently asked questions

1. What is the difference between scrapping and depreciation? 

Retirement means that an asset is taken out of service and no longer used in the business, while depreciation is the accounting process whereby an asset's value decreases over time due to use and age.

2. Can I write off the full cost of an asset as soon as I buy it? 

Certainly, if the economic life cycle of the asset is short, direct depreciation can be a good option. However, if the asset has a longer life cycle, direct depreciation can create an uneven distribution of costs, which can lead to a less fair/realistic result. Therefore, consult accountant to see which rules apply to your business.

3. What happens if I sell an asset before it is fully depreciated? 

If you sell an asset before it is fully depreciated, there may be a capital gain or loss depending on the sale price compared to the book value of the asset.

4. How do scrapping and depreciation affect my taxes? 

Depreciation can often be deducted from taxable income, reducing your taxable income. However, capital gains on the sale of an asset may be taxable. Always consult with a accountant or tax expert to understand the exact tax implications.

Read about accounting
Contact your accounting firm today
Contact us
Are you a restaurant owner and in need of accounting assistance?
Learn more about our accounting service tailored for restaurants.
Focus on your restaurant and we'll take care of the accounting.
Read more about Tasteful Accounting - Accounting service for restaurants
Contact your accounting firm today
Contact us
Guide: accounting for sales reports & cash reports

Guide: accounting for sales reports & cash reports

Link to the article
What is daily cash & Z-report, and how is it recorded? 

What is daily cash & Z-report, and how is it recorded? 

Link to the article
Tax planning for restaurants: Maximizing your profitability

Tax planning for restaurants: Maximizing your profitability

Link to the article
Depreciation & scrapping: A guide for restaurant owners

Depreciation & scrapping: A guide for restaurant owners

Link to the article