Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Custom Sweets with Vanilla Bean Bakery

Tis the season for sweets, and local bakeries are setting up for a busy Valentine’s Day weekend. Vanilla Bean Bakery of Indianapolis, Indiana is no different and offers custom creations that set them apart from the competition. Owners Jim and Kristin Klinger established Vanilla Bean Bakery five years ago and have developed four core products that consist of cake truffles, cupcakes, custom cookies and custom cakes. These sweets keep customers coming back for more and more!

The Beginning of Vanilla Bean BakeryVanilla Bean Bakery

Kristin Klinger had always been a stay at home mother, and whenever she brought over desserts to family holidays everyone would rave about them. She had always been interested and played around in the kitchen, and was always a very creative person.

“It got to a point where it was more than the polite ‘Oh wow that really looks great’ to all of a sudden family and friends starting to offer to pay [Kristin] to do something for them,” explained Jim. Looking for a way to pay for her kids’ college tuition, Jim and Kristin put two ideas together and eventually established Vanilla Bean Bakery five years ago. Kristin has no culinary education and is self-taught, so every product you see she learned how to do on her own.

After finding their perfect location, located right by their house, and creating quality products everything started to fall into place for the business.

Truffles, Cookies and Cakes Oh My!IMG_1266

One of the most popular sweet treats are the cake truffles, which come in fun, unique flavors just like their cupcakes. Depending on the weekend, the bakery might be swamped with orders for all four product categories. For Valentine’s Day in particular, Vanilla Bean Bakery will serve up hundreds of truffles and cupcakes.

IMG_1285“Typically, it’s your husbands and boyfriends who have waited until the last minute. When they wake up that morning they’ll need to find a place to get some sweets,” laughs Jim. They know that Valentine’s Day weekend will equal a long week, so they’ll start prepping early and loading up on treats on Monday. Jim uses his notes from the prior year to estimate how much of their product they’ll need going into that day.

Coming up with new flavors is something that Kristin does quite well. She’ll go online and find new flavors and ideas through message boards and their competition. Based on what’s trending, some crazy flavors will pop up from time to time that are hit or miss. Flavors are customer-driven as well. Customers will call and ask “Do you do this…?” and if they don’t, they will! “Because we’re custom, people come to us and every single cake you see on our website is from a customer asking if we could do this from them,” Jim says.

Central Equipment to Whip Up CreationsVanilla Bean Bakery

Even though Vanilla Bean Bakery only whips up cakes and cookies, they still rely on commercial restaurant equipment to get them through each batch of their creations on the daily. Jim says that they rely very heavily on their KitchenAid mixers and wear them down until they start sounding funny and won’t turn anymore. Other than those, they have a double stack oven and a refrigerator and that’s all they need to operate efficiently every day.

We have enjoyed talking, visiting and eating Vanilla Bean Bakery’s delicious treats and encourage you to do the same thing! Visit their Facebook page to keep up with daily flavors for cupcakes and truffles. If you find yourself in the Indianapolis, Indiana area we highly recommend that you stop in to see Jim and Kristin and taste their sweet treats!

Restaurant Coupons, Deals and Specials for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is this weekend, and we want to share with you several restaurant’s coupons and specials for the holiday. Happy Valentine’s Day from Central Restaurant Products!

Coupons, Deals and Specials


  • Order one Smothered Burrito and get one free on Feb. 14…as long as you kiss someone! Bring some mints!

Bob Evans

  • Enjoy their Double Chocolate Cherry Hotcakes, which are only available this weekend.

Steak ‘n Shake

  • Get a free Valentine’s Day milkshake after buying $10 in gift cards.
    Photo Credit: cauzinha/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

    Photo Credit: cauzinha/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

California Pizza Kitchen

  • Dinner for Two for $32. Includes one appetizer, two entrees and one dessert. Available now until Feb. 14.


  • On Feb. 13, Starbucks is hosting the “World’s Largest Starbucks Date” at participating Starbucks from 2 p.m. to close. Invite someone special and enjoy a special pairings menu and fun surprises.

Bonefish Grill

  • Three-course Valentine’s Day menu for two for $29.90 per person. Available through Feb. 15.

Waffle House and White Castle

  • Accepting Valentine’s Day Dinner Reservations. Receive tableside service at participating locations.


  • Receive a free New York Slice with the purchase of any pizza slice when you join Sbarro’s eclub. Good until Feb. 14.

Dairy Queen

  • Pre-order Dairy Queen’s heart-shaped Red Velvet Blizzard® Cupid Cake for $9.99.

P.F. Chang’s

  • Have your antacid handy. P.F. Chang’s is offering a special Valentine’s Hot and Spicy Menu for Two for $45. Available until Feb. 15.


Top Photo Credit: Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)



Foodservice Industry Week in Brief: February 17

Looking for some of the week’s top information? Here are five stories from the foodservice industry for February 13-17.

Tip-Income Questions with Answers from NRA
From National Restaurant Association, Read Article

As we move into tax season, the National Restaurant Association wanted to be sure some of the major questions were answered.  They put together an article that talks about restaurateurs filing tip-reporting data with the IRS, qualifications for a federal income tax credit on the FICA payroll taxes paid on certain employee tips and a reminder on law requirements.  Read the full article on the NRA website

Senate Approves Lower Minimum Wage Requirements for Servers, Bartenders, etc. in Florida
From Orlando Sentinel, Read Article

Florida workers who rely on tips aren’t too happy about a recent bill that passed through a Senate committee. Why? According to a recent Orlando Sentinel article, the minimum wage requirements will allow restaurants and employers to reduce the current minimum wage of $4.65 an hour to $2.13 an hour. Many workers are infuriated.  The Orlando Sentinel said the bill was proposed by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.  “The organization argues that it’s necessary because the minimum wage, which under state law rises annually to cover inflation, is among the expenses financially crippling restaurants in Florida,” they said.  Read article in full on the Orlando Sentinel website.

Valentine’s Day Specials at Chain Restaurants Image: alvimann/MorgueFile
From L.A. Times, Read Article

Valentine’s day was Tuesday, February 14.  It’s a very popular day for couples to eat dinner out, but with the United States’ current economic situation, not everyone can afford fine dining.  Fast food chains and quick service restaurants picked up the slack and provided great deals for those who didn’t want to cook their own Valentine’s Day dinner.  In a recent L.A. Times article, some of the specials they mentioned were Papa Murphy’s heart-shaped pizza and Dunkin’ Donuts heart-shaped doughnuts.  For more details on what restaurants were planning for, check out this L.A. Times article.

Chicago Schools Will Soon Stock EpiPens
From Education Week, Read Article

The number of food allergies is on the rise.  In a recent Education Week article, they found statistics from the American Academy of Pediatrics that say approximately every one in 25 school-age children has a food allergy.  To help prevent possible life-threatening allergic reactions, Illinois has passed a law and soon all Chicago Public Schools will stock approximately four to six EpiPens each.  They will also train school employees on how to use them.  Read the full article on the Education Week website.

Restaurants Gearing Up for Lent
From Restaurant Hospitality, Read Article

Next Tuesday, Feb. 21, is Mardi Gras–then the following day is when Lent begins.  During Lent, Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays, so many restaurants update their menu to provide Lenten specials.  In a recent Restaurant Hospitality article, they say many fast food chains have a fish sandwich, and those who don’t usually have one will add one.  Then other restaurants will provide other specials during the season with seafood menu items such as tuna and shrimp.

If your restaurant hasn’t considered updating your menu for Lent, Restaurant Hospitality says, “Pick up a couple items that would work within your restaurant’s pricing structure/service scheme and you’ll have a mini-Lenten menu you can promote.” They also say this is a good way to “pump a little life into your restaurant in what can otherwise be a drab time of the year.”  Read the full article on the Restaurant Hospitality website.

All images used from MorgueFile.com.

Foodservice Industry Week in Brief: 2/10

Looking for some of the week’s top information? Here are five stories from the foodservice industry for February 6-10.

Image: penywise/MorgueFile

Restaurants are Following in QSR’s Lead
From Chron.com, Read News Release

In a recent news release from The NDP Group, when it comes to the restaurant industry, they discovered fast casual or QSRs (quick service restaurants) are in the lead.  According to their study, QSRs have been the only segment to show growth in the nation’s current economic situation.  Because of their success, restaurants are now following suit to increase sales.  Read the full news release on Chron’s website.

McDonald’s Shamrock Shake to be Available in All U.S. Locations
From Washington Post, Read Article

Each year there are many restaurants with signature limited time offers–one of the most popular being McDonald’s Shamrock Shake.  This year McDonald’s has stepped it up and has made the shake available in all of their locations across the country.  According to the Washington Post article, the decision to put the shake in all stores was made by customer feedback.  Read the full story on the Washington Post website.

Image: click/MorgueFile

Happy Birthday, Let’s Move!
From CBS News, Read Article

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign entered into its second year of combating childhood obesity on February 9.  And what greater birthday present to get than to hear this quote from Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack: “For the first time in a long time, we did not see a rise in obesity rates.” The CBS article points out some of Let’s Move!’s many accomplishments such as the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and the revision of the food pyramid to MyPlate.  Vilsack also told CBS about their 2012 goals which include increasing the number of schools involved and to help children learn better eating habits for their every day lives.  Read full article on the CBS website.

National Restaurant Association Boosts Restaurant Involvement for “Kids LiveWell” Initiative
From NRA, Read Press Release

On the same day as the second anniversary of the Let’s Move! campaign, NRA announced the amount of restaurants participating in their “Kids LiveWell” initiative has tripled since it first began in July 2011.  The initiative was put in place to give parents better and healthier menu options for their children at restaurants.  According to NRA, restaurants can become a part of the initiative by meeting specific qualifications based on “leading health organizations’ scientific recommendations.”  Read full news release on the NRA website.

Image: kakisky/MorgueFile

Valentine’s Day at Restaurants

As Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, restaurants are gearing up for the event with special menu items and promotions.  Here are a few we found:

Need an idea for a promotion at your restaurant? Check out this article, “10 Valentine’s Day Promotions For Your Restaurant,” by Amanda MacArthur, Managing Editor for Swipely.

To keep the conversation going, let us know what your foodservice establishment’s plans are for Valentine’s Day! Special menu? Unique setting?

Comment on Facebook or let us know on Twitter and use #CRPvalentine.