CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -
It wasn't that long ago that college meal plans were pretty simple, three meals a day, whatever was being served, inside a dining hall. Now, a new plan that adds culinary options for University of Virginia students and their meal plans could help pump new revenue into restaurants all along the university's Corner district.
A dozen restaurants on the Corner are offering menus for the Elevate Meal Plan. It's a startup from two UVA graduates who want to give students more options to get some food beyond campus.
Thousands of UVA students pass by Eddy's Tavern on the Corner every day but getting them through the doors is a challenge. That's why owner co-owner Joe Fields is joining 11 other Corner restaurants through the new startup.
“An average meal nowadays is outrageous for someone working part time or not working at all on a scholarship,” said Fields.
The meal plan's founders want to give students an affordable option to eat out while boosting business at Corner restaurants.
Trinity Irish Pub and its sister restaurant, Coupe's, are both participating in the meal plan.
“What they're trying to do is just give more options and also at a good price and value for a customer and also drive traffic for us,” said Kevin Badke, owner of Trinity Irish Pub and Coupe’s.
The plans will come with a card to swipe at participating restaurants and a phone app will allow members to track how many meals they've used.
Elevate says its plans will save up to $3 per meal compared to paying regular menu prices.
While it's geared toward students who live off campus, the Elevate Meal Plans are being sold to anyone who eats out on the Corner.
“I would probably do my own economic analysis, you know, try to see what meals are out there compared to what if I didn't buy into the meal plan,” said Joseph Liao, UVA graduate.
Plans range in price from $163 for 15 meals up to a little more than $1,000 for 105 meals. Restaurants will start accepting the meal plans January 20.