students infront of building

The Elon Experience

Elon is known for its premier student-centered environment and focus on experiential learning. The historic 636-acre campus is designated as a botanical garden and includes the 56-acre Elon University Forest, a land preserve and natural area for scientific research, and Loy Farm, a center for environmental research and sustainability. Elon empowers students to be ambitious, curious, and compassionate— essential skills in becoming vanguards for positive change. Paired with Elon’s dedication to educating the whole student, the introduction of Harvest Table Culinary Group has been a perfect match on campus.

Harvest Table partnered with Elon University to bring new life to the dining program. Our executive chef and other members of the culinary team focused their approach on responsibly sourcing fresh, seasonal, high-quality ingredients from local farms and businesses.

We interviewed Laura Thompson to hear how Elon’s unique goal to connect living and learning on campus is keeping students happy.

student community eating
Elon’s farm-to-table dinners are stunning with rustic picnic tables making any outdoor location on campus feel like a farm. FOOD MANAGEMENT MAGAZINE

What’s unique about Elon?

One unique thing at Elon is food is engrained with curriculum. Harvest Table even funds a dining engagement coordinator. Their main job is to connect dining and student life—it’s a unique opportunity to have this position and allows us to get in the classroom and talk food.

What kind of skills go into creating the right team?

Personality and talent. Chef Jay was the perfect fit for our executive chef opening. He has a huge personality. He loves being out there, talking to students and has the culinary experience to back it up.

How is Elon’s meal plan unique?

Menus are our priority. Everything from revenue to student satisfaction revolves around the meal plan. When we created our spring and fall meal plans, we wanted it to be exciting and unexpected. We focused on quality and variety, but also had an event every day to shake things up. Laura Thompson
fruit bowl

How have you lowered the attrition rate?

When we started there was an 8-9% attrition rate. After, we focused on student experience, we were at 4%. We were walking the walk. We had the same goal, the right team, marketing support, and we’re listening to student feedback to improve.

Do any specific events stand out?

students petting a cow
Our partnership with Carolina Culture yogurt and smoothies helped them grow their business. They asked if they could bring one of their new cows on campus to show students (most of whom have never seen a cow that close). They loved it, and we had an opportunity to share where their food is really coming from.  Laura Tompson

Anything exciting for the future?

Elon runs a farm and we’re hoping to grow some unique produce to use on campus. Chef Jay also started Harvest Table Dinners. Twelve students are chosen to experience a 5-course meal as Chef Jay walks them through the food story. These were such a hit, we plan to have more than one per month next year.

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During this unprecedented time, we are focused on During this unprecedented time, we are focused on the safety and well-being of our employees, client partners and everyone we serve. We are also implementing measures to help our valued field associates and support local communities. Our teams are here to help with any questions, concerns, or thoughts you may have. Please visit out website in bio to learn more.
We believe wellbeing is fundamental. Our health an We believe wellbeing is fundamental. Our health and wellness managers help students make healthier decisions and establish positive, lifelong habits.  Learn more about how to help jumpstart your health and wellness program with the link in bio. #harvesttablecg
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Whatever career path you take, we are with you eve Whatever career path you take, we are with you every step of the way. Learn more about our programs we offer with the link in bio.  #harvesttablecg
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What do you get when you combine 🍄 and 🍔? A What do you get when you combine 🍄 and 🍔? A delicious, plant-forward, and sustainable recipe for success! We teamed up with #ChangingTastes to take on the challenge and opportunity to reimagine one of the most popular dishes on college campuses today – hamburgers. We created a new hamburger recipe featuring 70 percent grass-fed beef and 30 percent mushrooms and the feedback was tremendous! To read the full announcement, click the #LinkInBio
Our chefs are constantly seeking out new partners Our chefs are constantly seeking out new partners who can provide campuses with fresh, seasonal ingredients—all while offering local business the support and infrastructure they need to keep business running smoothly. Link in bio on how we help connect you to local farms and businesses and build these partnerships.  #harvesttablecg #local
Have you checked out our brand NEW website? Link i Have you checked out our brand NEW website? Link in bio to see what the buzz is all about! #harvesttablecg
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#Repost @inharvest with @get_repost ・・・ This #Repost @inharvest with @get_repost
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This week The Farmers Market at High Point (N.C.) University served up these gorgeous tacos filled with a 50/50 blend of ground beef and our flavorful and highly nutritious Greenwheat Freekeh (TM), all seasoned with a spice mix produced by Harvest Table Culinary Group. A qualified hit with students! 🌞
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On the heels of the first snowstorm of the season On the heels of the first snowstorm of the season in Upstate New York, our hospitality team is always ready to welcome Guests to the table! #harvesttablecg
We are proud to announce that we have partnered wi We are proud to announce that we have partnered with @FarmForward, a non-profit organization that implements innovative strategies to promote conscientious food choices, reduce farmed animal suffering, and advance sustainable agriculture, as part of its Leadership Circle. To read the full announcement, click the link in bio.  #htculinary #farmforward
This is how you take a simple favorite to a new le This is how you take a simple favorite to a new level! Thanks to Chef Jay our recipe is #locallyprocured #additivefree & #freshlyprepared http://ow.ly/yrqK50wgo7p #HTCulinary
Harvest Table is attending the American Culinary F Harvest Table is attending the American Culinary Federation’s National Convention -the country’s largest and most prestigious professional chef organization. Two of our chefs became certified this year and are being celebrated on this massive wall on the trade show floor. Congratulations again to Chef Jordan Rogers from @deacondining and Chef Christian Froelich from @hpudining for earning the Certified Executive Chef this year. #acfchefs #acfnatcon @acf_chefs
Great job today @htredlands #Repost ・・・ Fant Great job today @htredlands #Repost
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