New meal service for students comes to VCU

The plans, which come from a company called Elevate, include “swipes” for a variety of Richmond restaurants. Co-founders Seth Kramer and Josh Cohen said they saw the need for the service when they noticed that on-campus dining hall plans tend to go up in price without updating or changing the meals offered to students.

Between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years, VCU dining plans increased in price by about $45.

Elevate started with trial runs at UVA in 2013. The company now offers plans at several universities in the country including Florida State University, Cornell University, UVA, University of Michigan and UNC-Chapel Hill.

“One of the biggest factors we look at when looking for campuses to bring Elevate to is if there are a lot of really great restaurants in the area,” Kramer said. “Richmond was just a good fit, having a wide variety of dining experiences.”

Elevate’s meal plans do not expire at the end of each semester, and the meals are available until students graduate.  Like VCU Dining plans, Elevate’s options are also available to students who live off campus.

Among the local participating establishments are Asado, Foo Dog, Poke Sushi Bowl, Deep Run Roadhouse, Elephant Thai and NuVegan Cafe, among others. Kramer and Cohen said they are talking with several other restaurants for future partnerships, which they hope to announce soon.

Elevate dining plans are priced similarly to those offered by VCU. A 45-meal Elevate plan costs $449, while students can buy a VCU plan with 50 swipes and 75 dining dollars for $561. A VCU plan with 100 swipes and 75 dining dollars costs $961, and the 100-meal Elevate plan rings in at $1,019.

This new meal plan option lets you use your swipes on Franklin Street

A new meal plan is here to rescue UNC students from searching for a seat at Lenoir Dining Hall and instead, into the comfort of 21 Franklin Street restaurants.

Elevate Meal Plan, launched on Jan. 10, allows students to pre-purchase meals on Franklin Street for a reduced cost. After launching on six other college campuses, Elevate hopes to bring Chapel Hill students an alternative option to the plans offered by Carolina Dining Services.

Elevate, co-founded by University of Virginia graduates Seth Kramer and Josh Cohen, enables students to purchase meals similar to a typical meal plan. Instead of swiping into the dining hall, students can order their meals from the Elevate app.

While Elevate does have an upfront cost, each restaurant offers a condensed menu that aims to give students the most value for their dollar. Students could save more than $200 per year, according to Elevate Meal Plan’s website. A small package of 45 meals costs $9.79 per meal, while a larger package of 105 meals costs $9.09 per meal. The typical savings per meal averages from about $1 to $2. 

Unlike the CDS meal plan, Elevate rolls over each semester rather than expiring. Students can also treat their friends and family to a meal without restrictions.

Students can purchase from a number of Chapel Hill favorites such as Cosmic Cantina, Time-Out and Hibachi & Co. 

“One of the reasons we chose UNC to expand to is that we saw so many amazing restaurants on Franklin Street that people really enjoy going to,” Kramer said.

Restaurants have control over their own Elevate menus and can create Elevate-exclusive specials. Many restaurants offer meals for those who follow special diets, especially Vegan Flava Cafe and Soul Cocina.

Kramer and Cohen said local businesses in their other locations have seen benefits from their alternative meal plan, but they declined the release of the numbers that show how much local businesses working with Elevate actually grow. 

“We have seen and heard from restaurants that have gotten a ton of value from partnering with Elevate,” Cohen said. “There's a few restaurants, for example, that normally aren't open during certain hours, but they open their kitchen just to accept Elevate orders because they realized how much more business they were getting.”

Members can use Elevate any time a restaurant is open. This means that students can use their meals for late night munchies at Time-Out, or even during summer break. According to the website, this also means restaurants can refuse Elevate orders for any reason, including game days.

Students are the target of the plan, but faculty, staff and the general public are eligible to purchase meals from their most frequented restaurants.

"Our marketing is definitely targeted toward students,” Kramer said. “But if a professor wanted to buy a meal plan or somebody who happens to live in the area, it’s definitely open for everyone who wants to use it.”

Cohen and Kramer said they aim to reduce the boring and repetitive nature of meal plans, but UNC also works toward this same goal. Many CDS meal plans come with PLUS Swipes or Dining Flex which allow students to explore a variety of on-campus restaurants, several of them local.

“Serving both on-campus students as well as off-campus students, CDS recognizes the importance of offering a variety of options, especially local, which is evident with our recent additions of Merritt's Grill, CholaNad, Port City Java, BurritoBowl and Freshens Smoothies,” said Olivia James, communications manager for campus enterprises, in an email to The Daily Tar Heel. 

UNC sophomore Hayley Sutt said that while her friends were interested in Elevate, she has some reservations about the plan. 

“I think it’s kind of cool, and I’ve heard a lot of friends liking it and wanting to do it,” Sutt said. “Franklin Street has better food and more options. But also, I think that meal plans are just kind of silly because I would rather just spend my money when I want to spend my money.”

SC4 partners with local restaurants, Elevate Meal Plan to offer meal plan options

St. Clair County Community College has partnered with local restaurants and Elevate Meal Plan to provide its students, employees, area professionals and community members with unique and affordable meal options, easy dine in, pre-ordering and pickup services at some of the area’s most popular venues via an online platform.

SC4 is one of just a handful of community partners—and the first community college—offering meal plan options through Elevate. Others include communities surrounding Cornell, the University of Michigan, Florida State University and the University of Virginia.

Current participating restaurants include Casey’s Pizza and Subs, Chef Shell’s Restaurant and Catering, The Exquisite Corpse Coffee House, Kate’s Downtown, Maria’s Downtown Café, Moe’s Corner Deli, Raven Café, Sail In Café and Convenience Store, SC4 Café and Sperry’s 2nd Floor Dinnerhouse.

Meal plans range between three and 105 meals and can be rolled over to ensure students do not lose money when their traditional dining hall meals expire at the end of a semester.

“Community colleges offering a meal plan is pretty uncommon, but we feel this meal plan fits well within our mission of maximizing student success,” said Vice President of Student Services Pete Lacey. “It’s a great complement to on-campus meal choices and will provide a wide variety of new options for students and employees.

“Not only that, it allows us to support and promote local restaurants in our community, which will contribute to greater local economic growth.”

SC4 opened its doors to its College Housing on Aug. 3 and is the first community college in southeastern Michigan to offer student housing. The new facility will accommodate approximately 80 college students and resident assistants annually.

Added College Housing Manager Nathanial Shrapnell, “We’re focused on providing our students with a full college experience. This meal plan plays a role in that.”

To learn more or sign up for a meal plan, visit

13 Restaurants That Prove UVA's Elevate Meal Plan is the Move

If ask any UVA student, they will tell you that The University is the best school in Virginia, if not the whole country. The academics are rigorous, with helpful professors, and everyone knows how to throw a good party. The only complaint that anyone ever has is the food. The UVA-sponsored meal plans are extremely expensive and the food leaves much to be desired in the all-you-can eat dining halls. Now, the Elevate Meal Plan has that problem solved. Originally founded by UVA students, The Elevate Meal Plan has been sweeping UVA by storm since it was first offered. Since then, they have added more restaurant options to the plan and even expanded Elevate to other schools. 

So how does it work?

With the Elevate Meal Plan, upperclassmen save money and get to eat at some of their favorite restaurants. It's a win-win situation. 

Revolutionary Soup

Located on 14th street, Revolutionary Soup is a prime location for students living on Whertland or in GrandMarc. You can choose from a pick-two combo, quesadilla combo, grilled cheese combo, or full sandwich combo. Their soups are made from scratch and make the perfect lunch in the winter. 

Pigeon Hole

Pigeon Hole is popular among students as a breakfast and brunch spot for studying. On the meal plan, you can choose from a variety of breakfast combos, including their popular Pigeons in a Hole, or southern comfort-inspired entree meals like biscuits and gravy. 

Doma Korean BBQ

You can get Korean classics like bibimbap, fried rice, and Korean-style BBQ boxes on your meal plan at Doma Korean BBQ. They also have wings and burger options with Korean flavors for students looking for a more traditional American meal. 


Finally, you can tell your parents that you are using your meal plan when you're at a barTrinity's Elevate menu includes their wraps, sandwiches, and salads. But that won't matter because their famous burgers are an option as well. 

Kuma Sushi

You can finally stop eating that sketchy sushi from the coffee shop in Alderman. On Elevate, you can even order ahead so your sushi roll, dumplings, edamame, or seaweed salad are waiting at the counter of Kuma Sushi when you arrive. You can pick any combination of 2 of the above for a meal. 

Roots Natural Kitchen

As my personal favorite lunch spot on the corner, Roots is a new addition to this year's Elevate Meal Plan. You can choose from any one of their signature salad or grain bowls, including the crowd favorite El Jefe

The Juice Laundry

Not only is The Juice Laundry a new addition to the Elevate Meal Plan, but it's also the newest addition to The Corner. Now, you can stop by and pick up any one of their smoothies with two boosts on your morning walk to class

Michael's Bistro

Because Michael's Bistro is located above LittleJohn's, many students go four years without ever getting the chance to stop in and try the amazing food.

Now you can work it into your meal rotation by choosing from half and half combos, salads, and hot dishes like sandwiches, tacos, and curry. They have a little bit of everything to offer meal plan members, so you can eat there all the time without getting bored. 

Crozet Pizza

Crozet Pizza does Elevate Meal Plan members the honor of being able to get pretty much anything off the menu. You can choose from entree salads, a personal cheese pizza, or any one of their calzones, which is my personal recommendation. 

Christian's Pizza

If you're more of a big slice kind of person, you can get that on the Elevate Meal Plan too. Christian's Pizza allows you to pick any two specialty slices or three slices of cheese or pepperoni. Now you have a valid excuse to enjoy that gigantic slice even when you're sober. 

LittleJohn's Deli

LittleJohn's delicious New York style deli sandwiches have been a staple of The Corner for UVA students, alumni, and townies alike since 1976. On the meal plan, you can choose from some of your favorite flatbreads, sandwiches, subs, and salads in combo meals that make the perfect study fuel. 


Chinese takeout is a classic staple of every college student's diet and with Elevate, you can get it on your meal plan. Choose from pretty much every classic Chinese food, including curry, dumplings, and orange chicken, with spring rolls or soup for your meal combo from Ginkgo


If you're like the average UVA student, you probably haven't even tried Coupes' food. Let me tell you that you've been missing out. With the meal plan, you can chow down on any three of their delicious sliders or a stuffed pita with fries. 

Not a UVA student? Have no fear. Elevate also has off-campus meal plans available for Georgetown, Cornell, University of Michigan, and Florida State students. They're also always hoping to expand, so keep your eyes open for updates on new restaurants and campuses. 

If Elevate Meal Plan sounds like something you'd like to get in on, click here to get started

Everything You Need To Know About Elevate, Tallahassee's Newest Meal Plan Service

I remember those poor days of being a freshman, when all the microwavable food in the world could never satisfy my cravings for a decent meal and Suwannee was getting really old. Thankfully, those days of subjecting yourself to yet another meal and figuring out how many swipes you have left at the dining hall are over. Elevate Meal Plan is probably the most ingenious and affordable alternative to a school meal plan that's ever crossed my radar...and if you're already eating out all the time anyway, it will definitely save you boatloads of money.

With the Elevate Meal Plan, students can pick and choose from a variety of participating restaurants around campus to customize a meal plan that best suits them. This way, students can avoid the unhealthy, over-processed foods that are often served in schools' dining halls. Plus, students who have special dietary restrictions can always ensure that they'll get a quality, tasty meal that's not dependent on whatever the dining hall is serving that day. And by buying a plan with Elevate instead of buying individual meals from restaurants, students save an average of 10-20% on each meal.

Elevate works by allowing students to choose a pre-determined number of meals when they purchase a plan. The meal credits never expire, so if you don't use them all during the semester of purchase they will roll over into the next semester. Plus, if you have to stick around Tallahassee during breaks (when the dining hall at FSU is closed!), you can use your meals then, too. One of the most convenient parts of Elevate is the feature that enables you to order ahead at every restaurant on the plan, so you never have to wait in line or sit around while your food is made. And if you're still unsure of the benefits, Elevate will refund you for any meal credit you haven't used if you're not 100% satisfied with the service you receive. 

Currently, Elevate has partnered with fourteen restaurants in Tallahassee, and their team is working to expand their restaurant partnerships to bring meal plan members even more dining options in the future. Below is the current list of restaurants you can enjoy on the Elevate Meal Plan, but make sure to check their website for continuous updates! There you have it, folks. Like I said before, Elevate is continuously adding restaurants to their meal plan so they can provide their customers with more delicious options like these. So go ahead and try it out, because who doesn't love to save an extra few bucks? Nobody, that's who.

What You Need to Know About Elevate, a Private Meal Plan

Students from across the country are trickling into Charlottesville for the start of classes. For some, it's the beginning of a four year journey. For others, it's returning to the school and town they've already learned to love. The one part of heading back to school at UVA that no one looks forward to is eating at the dining hall.

UVA's meal plans are almost as notoriously expensive as the dining halls are infamous for serving disappointing food. Since 2015, however, a private alternative to UVA meal plans has taken over the scene. 

Seth and Josh, two UVA alumni, recognized that meal plans were getting more expensive even as the food quality declined. They set out to develop an off-campus alternative. That's when Elevate Meal Plan was born. 

Over the past few years, Elevate Meal Plan has been growing fast, not only at UVA, but also at several other campuses across the country. Here's what's so great about choosing Elevate Meal Plan, the private alternative to UVA's dining halls and plus dollars.

1. Eat at all of your favorite restaurants.

Pictured: Chicken caesar wrap from Trinity

One of the saddest things about being a broke student in Charlottesville is having to miss out on the restaurant scene. With Elevate, you don't have to. There are currently 21 local restaurants where you can use your meals. From Juice Laundry to Trinity to Vu Noodles and everything in between, Elevate is sure to have a meal combo for you.

2. Preorder meals to skip the lines.

Pictured: Specialty slice combo from Christian's Pizza

Lunch can be extremely rushed in between classes, group work, and studying. Instead of settling for the dining hall or skipping it altogether, you can order ahead using the Elevate web app. Your meal will be waiting for you when you arrive, just be prepared for lots of jealous looks from everyone still waiting in line. 

3. Meals automatically roll over to the next semester.

Pictured: Wings and bibimbap from DOMA Korean Kitchen

From your first day of classes to the day you graduate, you'll never lose your meals on Elevate. What I can't guarantee, however, is that you'll have any leftover meals hanging around. Luckily, you can also reload your plan with more meals at any time of the year. 

4. Use your swipes any day of the week, any time the restaurant is open.

Pictured: Five easy pieces signature sandwich from Little John's

UVA's dining halls and plus dollar locations have strange hours, often leaving students extremely hungry when they need a meal the most. With Elevate, each restaurant has unique hours so you can use your meals whenever they are open. Some locations are open nearly 24/7.

5. You pay using your phone, no card or cash required.

Pictured: Signature bowls from Roots Natural Kitchen

Elevate has an extremely easy to use online web app that allows students to order meals ahead of time, pay for meals in restaurants, and add meals. If you need to add extra notes or customizations to your order, you can do that as well. All you need to do carry is your phone. 

6. Save money!

Pictured: Pick two combo from Revolutionary Soup

Not only is Elevate Meal Plan cheaper per meal than a UVA dining plan, but your meals will also be up to $2 off retail price each. By partnering directly with restaurants, Elevate can provide meals at 10-20 percent off the a la carte price that the general public pays. 

If you're not tuning in from the Charlottesville area, don't fret. Elevate Meal Plan is rescuing students from dining halls across the country. As the Fall 2018 semester begins, students at UVA, TCCFlorida StateUniversity of MichiganSt. Clair, and Cornell are all choosing Elevate. 

#SpoonTip: If you're ready to escape the dining halls, use this link for one free meal when you sign up for Elevate. 

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