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SPIN Dessert Cafe & Bistro turns confections into occasions

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Diane Spence is a real dessertophile. She loves dessert so much that she decided to start her own restaurant chain devoted to the sweeter side of life. It’s now been six years since Spence opened the doors of the first SPIN Dessert Cafe & Bistro in Etobicoke, Ont., with her partner, Nash Moledina.

by Jane Auster

Photography by Brandon Gray

“We were in the middle of a recession, and we were looking at our demographic,” recalls Diane. “We were too old for the bar scene, but we still wanted to go out with friends without paying $100 for dinner. We felt something was missing in the marketplace. We wanted to give people an experience, a fun, trendy place to go to that is affordable.”

The niche Diane identified that satisfied her desire for a memorable experience that doesn’t break the bank was the dessert café, which before 2008 was a fairly new concept. Turns out she was really onto something.

According to research by The NPD Group, adding dessert to a meal at a fast service restaurant adds $4.16 to the average eater cheque — a 29% increase!

In addition, one in 12 dinner occasions in FSR now includes dessert, says a report by Ipsos Reid.

Desserts are beginning to take centre stage. This is certainly the case at SPIN Dessert Cafe & Bistro, which makes it easy for Canadians to indulge their sweet cravings. Now nine locations strong and growing in Ontario, with plans to move across Canada and internationally, the franchised operation has taken delicious to a whole new level.

The menu is dessert-lovers’ heaven, featuring cheesecakes, ice cream creations, brownies, cakes, and more, with new additions added every month to satisfy every sweet tooth. SPIN Dessert Cafe & Bistro wraps many of its confections around special holidays like Canada Day, Back to School, Halloween, Remembrance Day and Christmas. For June the theme was Father’s Day, featuring S’mores-based cheesecake, ice cream, fondue and brownie.

Her dessert menu may change regularly, but there is one thing that remains constant — SPIN Dessert Cafe & Bistro employs Kraft products for all of the desserts, and many of the other, non-dessert menu items. Diane’s favourite Kraft products? Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Kraft Peanut Butter.

“We’ve worked with Kraft since the start of our restaurant,” says Diane. “It’s a personal preference since we make everything ourselves and look for products without artificial flavours or preservatives. We work with the finest ingredients, with the quality only Kraft offers. For instance, we have a chocolate peanut butter ice cream made with real cream, premium chocolate and Kraft Peanut Butter. We use the 10 kg size of peanut butter, which lasts a week and a half.”

The cheesecake line relies on Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese to create such sinful delights as Peanut Butter Dream Cheesecake and Red Velvet Cheesecake. “We use at least two to three cases a week of Philly Cream Cheese,” says Diane.

Versatility and consistency are the key reasons Diane and her pastry chef come back to Philly Cream Cheese time after time to create desserts that are sinfully delicious. In fact, as Diane says, “We have used Kraft forever, and it is absolutely the only brand we would trust to feature in our recipes. Our pastry chef will not work with any other products. Without them, the entire taste of the recipe would change.”

It’s not just the more obvious menu items that benefit from “the Philly” and Kraft Peanut Butter. SPIN’s pastry chef finds the products so versatile, consistent and reliable that they feature prominently in tarts, parfaits and toppings, and in such creations as a butter cream pancake icing and warm peanut butter sauce over brownie.

Does Diane have a favourite dessert on SPIN’s menu? It’s a toss-up between the Peanut Butter Explosion Brownie and Hazelnut Cream Ice Cream. And, not surprisingly, she likes her desserts to come straight from her own restaurant.

“Funnily enough, we’ll look to see what’s out there, but I tend to eat dessert at my own restaurant, because if the quality is not there, I’d rather not eat the calories. It has to be worth it.”

With Kraft in the recipes, the desserts are more than worth it.

Sidebar:

Five key benefits of making Kraft products your dessert partners:

  • Quality
  • Versatility
  • Reliability/consistency
  • Trusted consumer brands, including Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Kraft Peanut Butter and JELL-O.
  • Labour-saving