Since its inception in 2002, Asheville Independent Restaurants has fostered a network of restaurateurs, chefs, suppliers, partners, farmers, sponsors, culinary teachers and students in our community. The organization strives to connect restaurants with each other in the spirit of collaboration and camaraderie, sharing beneficial industry information and ideas. AIR is also actively engaged in giving back to our town through local events and causes, culinary scholarships, and support of local businesses. AIR works closely with the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, the Asheville Chamber of Commerce and the Asheville Downtown Association.
Benefits of Membership
Below is a list of possible
benefits afforded all AIR members. This list changes annually. The
Asheville Independent Restaurant Association is continually creating new
benefits and value for its membership. The following are just some of
the benefits available to AIR members, including ways we can help you
- AIR Dining Guide - Each restaurant member receives a free ad in the guide. 40,000 of these guides are distributed to the Convention Visitors’ Bureau, Asheville Airport, Downtown Association, AAA, area hotels and bed and breakfasts, and event venues.
- www.airasheville.org - Members receive a presence on our website, including contact information and Google map accessibility.
- Taste of Asheville / Passport
- AIR’s signature event and fundraiser, the Taste of Asheville
showcases the AIR Restaurants who are featured in the Passport which
represents over $1,000 in value to AIR members’ customers. Restaurants
are heavily promoted through the sales of the Passport as well as the
annual Taste of Asheville event.
- Asheville Small Plate Crawl
- An interactive marketing initiative designed to get new customers
into local (AIR) restaurants during a slower part of the season. It's
also an opportunity for restaurant's to show off its cuisine and the
- Marketing and PR
- AIR works closely with the Chamber of Commerce, Asheville Convention
and Visitors’ Bureau and the Asheville Downtown Association to
capitalize on multiple marketing opportunities throughout the year.
Events that promote our area regionally and nationwide, hosting press
and food writers, providing groups with dining materials and
opportunities and partnering with other organizations, all add muscle to
your own individual marketing efforts.
- AIR Mail Newsletter
- Our bi-monthly e-newsletter provides information on current AIR
events, relevant issues and ideas, news about our membership and the
organization, and a forum for AIR members to submit articles and
Money Saving and Continuing Education Benefits
AIR secures thousands of dollars of in-kind sponsorships from media and
a variety of vendors/suppliers. This generous support allows AIR the
opportunity to strategically promote our events, our organization and,
of course, our membership.
- Discounted Serve Safe Classes provided by AIR partners (Performance / IFH)
Continuing Education – Our Partners provide classes to our members and
their staff. These classes focus on industry topics requested by our
members to improve business practices and service standards.
- AIR Member Discounts - In league with our sponsors and partners, members enjoy discounts and programs developed specifically for AIR members. (i.e. discounts on CC processing fees, advertising discounts with local media, etc)
Giving Back to the Asheville Community
- AIR’s “Chefs of Tomorrow Scholarship Fund”
- Established through AB-Tech’s nationally accredited culinary program,
AIR works on your behalf to provide future hospitality industry
professionals with financial assistance.
- Green Opportunities (GO!)
offers a kitchen-training program that will prepare graduates for
employment in food service. Classes cover basic food service and
technical skills including culinary, baking, food safety and sanitation,
food vocabulary and kitchen math. A portion of the class is devoted to
life skill training, covering nutrition, resume writing, interviewing,
job search, job retention skills and managing personal finances.
To receive an updated list of AIR member 2013 benefits, email the AIR membership coordinator. For a printable pdf of the AIR Member Application please click here.
Membership Requirements and Dues
To join AIR, your restaurant must be locally owned and operated, have seating, and open to the public. It goes without saying, that your restaurant cannot belong to a chain or franchise. It is our aim to keep dining out dollars in our local economy. Join AIR, unchaining Asheville, one restaurant at a time. Questions? email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2013 AIR Membership dues schedule
$450.00 Member Dues (Pro-rating unavailable)
$200.00 Affiliate Dues-Different concept
$100.00 Affiliate Dues-Same concept
2013 Renewal fees are due February 1, 2013.
Affiliate members are for restaurants with more than one location in Buncombe County. Same Concept Affiliates (SCA) share the same name as the parent restaurant. Different Concept Affiliates (DCA)
have a different name and different concept from the parent restaurant.
Affiliates are owned by a single parent restaurant, with a single
federal employer identification number.
Email email@example.com to receive a 2013 application form.
Download the 2013 application
An Associate Member is any individual or business which wishes to
support the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association. This
membership entitles the Associate to attend General Member
Meetings (but without voting privilege), a complimentary table at the
WNC Culinary Expo, a digital copy of the AIR membership contact list and
be listed on our website’s associate page.
2013 AIR Associate Membership pro-rated fee: $495.
All applications for membership in AIR must be approved by the Board