Unify. Unite. UniMealPlan.

3. Good Health and Well-Being 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth

Overview

"UniMealPlan is an off-campus meal plan by students for students." It allows students to purchase something other than the on-campus meal plan, which is usually outrageously priced. Students can also choose options that are much healthier than the current campus accommodations.

Author

Zachary Barden

Zachary Barden

School

St. John's University

St. John's University

Professor

Charles Wankel

Charles Wankel

Innovation

"The best way to complain is to create. So many people complained about on-campus meal plans and so we did something about it." From personal experience, my college campus charged $6,000 for an on-campus meal plan and $3,000 for an off-campus plan - both of which had meal caps, allowed only certain on-campus dining options, were not healthy in any way, and definitely did not roll meals over to the next semester. It was a completely terrible process and this is one of the motivators I had for interviewing Param.

Unify. Unite. UniMealPlan.

Inspiration

"The idea originally came from my mom, constantly calling me and asking me if I ate. She was constantly worried. We understand that as a business, and we're targeting the pain point for the students as much as the parents. The parents have the buying power, typically, and this is a major angle for us. The typical student is learning full-time and working part-time, so they very rarely have time to cook for themselves."

I can definitely agree with Param on his inspiration, as I have had the same experience in my earlier college years.

Overall impact

"The best way to complain is to create. So many people complained about on campus meal plans and so we did something about it. On campus they don't really offer a lot of healthy options for vegans / vegetarians. However, we offer a wide-array of options. We have Salad Shack, CJ's, and Laquistas, for example, that provide a much healthier option than eating on-campus."

This business offers busy students who are trying to eat better (and faster) a healthier option than going to Burger King or Subway. It directly impacts the student body as a positive contribution to campus food and wellness.

Business benefit

"Literally half the cost for double the value. Huge discrepancy between what the school makes you pay and what you're getting. Quality vs quantity. If students buy a meal plan from us, we're not trying to ultimately profit off the students, but rather give them a better and more reliable alternative. And if you don't use all your meals, your meals will roll over, compared to the university which simply profits off your non-use."

The fact that the university I went to charged $6,000 for an on-campus meal plan and $3,000 for an off-campus meal plan just goes to show how much of a competitor UniMealPlan can become. Charging by the meal allotment, and rarely surpassing $2700/semester, the company can help students save money through this economically advantageous option.

Social and environmental benefit

"On campus they don't really offer a lot of healthy options for vegans / vegetarians. However we offer a wide array of options. We have Salad Shack, CJ's, and Laquistas, for example, that provide a much healthier option than eating on campus."

Health and wellness is a big drive when I choose a company. UniMealPlan takes into account that students need a varied blend of taste - different dishes, cuisines, and preparations of food. Otherwise, the eating process becomes boring and unhealthy (most students choosing comfort foods such as fried chicken and french fries). Also, with a lot of cafes and sushi places being on UniMealPlan's roster, the increased meal appeal allows students to venture out of their comfort zone and try new things.

Interview

Param Yonzon, Co-Founder

Param Yonzon, Co-Founder

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UniMealPlan

UniMealPlan

New York, NY, United States

Business Website: https://unimealplan.com/

Year Founded: 2016

Number of Employees: 2-10

This business is run by Param Yonzon and several associates. It began out of a college dorm room and has now transformed into a service offering for students around the Queens campus. Now, they hope to target Manhattan campus students through their innovative app for iOS and Android.