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.