Courtesy of Eating Club

New dining service, the Eating Club, created by Will Harvey ’22, brings gourmet food straight to students.

February 26, 2021

‘Eating Club’ Seeks to Build Community Through Home-Cooked Meals

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Will Harvey ’22 is bringing a sense of community to students who want home-cooked, convenient and inexpensive food through his campus food-delivery service Eating Club.

The delivery service offers two meal plan options, with menu items including locally sourced vegetables, sushi, chicken wraps and shrimp fried rice that is delivered straight to dorm rooms and off-campus housing. Students can apply for a semester-long membership through the club’s website for $13 a week. Current members subscribed because the low cost helps save student’s money on weekend meals, Harvey said.

Harvey said the club’s first week of operation, beginning Feb. 20, was “a wild success.” They plan to continue delivering meals until May. 

The club is currently serving 34 members, and Harvey is working with his team of five people to prepare the food — alleviating the stress of conducting operations that weighed on him when the company launched this fall — then, Harvey’s mother and grandfather prepared the meals in Rochester, sent it to a packaging center in Ithaca and had the meals delivered to members.

Harvey was no stranger to the food industry when he started Eating Club. He operated a hot dog cart business beginning in his sophomore year of high school, which expanded to four locations. 

“The pandemic hit and I thought that the hot dog cart concept or something to do with food carts was not really feasible at the campus at that time, so I sort of toyed around with the idea of food delivery service,” Harvey said. This idea led to the founding of The Eating Club this past fall, but now the business is adapting and growing as it embraces its larger team.

Harvey said the club’s original green logo that read “The Eating Club” is now coral pink, making a conscious decision to slash “The” from the name.

“Having ‘The Eating Club’ sounds very lofty, and we wanted to strip away from that, and just be more inclusive, more inviting,” Harvey said. “This is something that anybody can join. It’s not really a club. It’s more of a community.”

Along with a rebranding came a new Eating Club team as well. This semester, the organization welcomed Executive Chef Alex Li ’23, a student in the School of Hotel Administration and an honors graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Li previously worked under a Google corporate chef to spearhead a hydroponic farm-to-table initiative.

In addition to an executive chef, the organization also added a chief financial officer, Connor Novak ’23, and a chief marketing officer, James Peabody ’22, to help alleviate the workload of the business operations.

“Our members are definitely at the heart of what we’re doing,” Harvey said. “The attention to detail that we’re putting into the food is something that you’re only going to get from your mom or your grandma, and that’s what we’re trying to recreate on this campus — that sense of home, community and really love for the food that we’re preparing.”

The club’s goal is to foster a community by allowing members to share their movie or song recommendations, quotes of the week and their favorite part of being a member of the club to promote positivity. At the end of their six-week seasonal meal plan, members decide which meals they enjoyed the most to be served during the final week.

With their current demand, the team is able to deliver all 34 meals in about 25 minutes by using a route optimizer app, driving to North and West Campus and Collegetown. However, Harvey said he thinks the club can handle greater demand.

“With our capacity, we could probably do 10 times what we’re doing,” Harvey said, explaining that they are expecting to sustain weekly growth and aim to serve 300 meals a week.

Harvey has hopes of expanding Eating Club to offer services to Ithaca College students, Ithaca residents and eventually up to Syracuse.

“This provides a community of the same meal to be delivered to everyone with high quality and the ability for people to eat whenever they please,” Novak said.