How U.Va. students can purchase a meal plan for Corner restaurants

Collaboration with restaurants will provide alternative to on-Grounds dining plan


The University Corner

Celina Hu | Cavalier Daily

Beginning next semester, students can purchase a meal plan that provides food from restaurants on the Corner.

The meal plans will be offered through a service called Elevate, part of a catering company called FlashCater founded by Josh Cohen and Seth Kramer, Class of 2013 and 2015 graduates.

Elevate is not affiliated with the University or U.Va. Dining.

The aim of Elevate is to provide more affordable and healthy options for University students with the convenience of the Corner, Kramer said.

“There’s a pretty big variety and we’ve also focused on having healthy options,” Kramer said. “We negotiated with all the restaurants so that what you’re getting for your meal is a better value than if you were just walking in.”

The meal plan options range from 15 meals a semester, priced at $163, to 105 meals, priced at $1,045. Unused meals at the end of a semester will rollover to the next.

Elevate is currently partnering with 12 restaurants on the Corner, including Trinity Irish Pub, Michael’s Bistro and Revolutionary Soup, but is looking to partner with more.

Meals will consist of an entrée, two sides, and a drink, all within comparable price ranges. Not all meals on a restaurant’s menu will be included in the plan, but the menus jointly compiled by Elevate and participating restaurants will offer over 100 meal options.

Students who purchase a meal plan will have a card to use for meal swipes, as well as an app to order take out and track meals. Kramer said all the restaurants partnering with Elevate will offer take-out — and select restaurants will offer sit-down meals — providing students with convenient options.

“[The meal plan will] give students an alternate option for a meal plan at a better price than they'd otherwise get, and make it just super convenient," he said.

To help aid the business plan designing process, Cohen and Kramer interviewed and talked with students about what they would like to see included.

“We talked to a lot of students and tried to get feedback as to what they were looking for,” Cohen said. “A lot of students weren’t necessarily happy with the pricing for a regular meal plan so one thing we focused on was different ways to make it more affordable.”

Fourth-year Engineering student Derek Yen said he thinks Elevate it is a great idea for those who live closer to the Corner.

“For rising second and third years it might open a lot of doors — help get students from off-Grounds to go and get a meal plan,” he said.

The plan may be less helpful for first years. Chris Pringle, a first-year in the College, said he does not see the point in having a meal plan for restaurants on the Corner.

“In my understanding they’re trying to make it cheaper and more convenient, but I feel like for me personally, [given] the distance from the Corner to where I’m living, that I wouldn’t get nearly as much use out of it,” he said.

Elevate is currently only partnering with restaurants on the Corner, but Cohen and Kramer think other Charlottesville restaurants could become partners at a later time.

“Definitely as we get more students on the plan it would make sense to have more restaurants around Charlottesville,” Kramer said.

Meal plans for the spring 2016 semester are currently available for purchase. Students interested in the meal plan can find out more information on Elevate’s website.

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