What is the Return on Investment for Purchasing a Combi Oven?


Yes, combi ovens cost more than traditional types of commercial kitchen equipment.  So should you take the plunge? A standard 6 pan steamer and double stack convection oven will cost you approximately $14,000.00. The combi oven, with its ability to heat, steam and combine heat and steam can replace the traditional set up.  A full size combi oven with similar capacities will cost around $22,000.  Will the additional $8000.00 you are paying up front be worth the investment over a 10 year equipment lifespan?  Let’s make some rough estimates and compare:

  • Reduced Food Shrinkage –  Combi Cooking with moisture, especially with meat, allows you to keep more of your product to serve.  Many meat products cooked in a combi oven can have 10% less shrinkage, providing more to serve your customers. Example –  10 lbs of beef tenderloin costs approximately $124.00.  Save 10% on the cooking and you have $12.40 extra product to serve.  Serve 10 lbs every week and that’s$644.80 in savings a year alone.


  • Electricity and Gas Savings – Moisture conducts heat much more efficiently than dry convection heat.  You can cook at lower temperature with moisture and utilize less energy.  The traditional double stack convection oven pulls 25 KW and the traditional 5-6 pan convection steamer pulls 15 KW.  However, the full sized floor combi oven pulls 36 KW, a savings of 10% on operating costs when all equipment is operating wide open.  A Kilowatt hour costs approximately 15 cents;  4 KW of saved electricity at 15 cents a KWH and run for 6 hours a day would provide approximately $3.60 of savings a day assuming peak usage.


  • Time – The combi oven will cook faster than the convection oven when moisture is introduced into the cavity.  Consider combi cooking french fries in 12 minutes instead of 16 minutes in dry heat.  Programmable menus allow you to load product and walk away.    The  extra time created could be used to save on labor or repurposed for a better use.


I know  – everybody’s got different menus and different electric and usage rates. How you organize your labor is a management question.  However, the case can be made for substantial savings in operation of your combi to justify the increase in the purchase price. More questions – just contact lisa@dietaryequipment.net.  Thanks!