Asheville Independent Restaurants (AIR) is a local nonprofit dedicated to advocating for restaurants in our community. AIR’s mission is based on four pillars: Advocacy, Workforce, Membership & Community, and Sustainability.

Yes, AIR exists to benefit restaurant owners. But there wouldn’t be restaurants without the cooks, servers, bartenders, hostesses, dishwashers, managers, bussers, and barbacks that keep them alive. There wouldn’t be restaurants without you.

AIR is here for you.

But what does that mean, exactly?

Listed below are just a few of the benefits AIR provides to member employees.


Representation: AIR actively collaborates with and participates in conversations with local government bodies such as the ABC Commission, County Manager’s Office, the City of Asheville, the Asheville Downtown Association, Asheville Arts Council, and the Chamber of Commerce, to make sure the people who keep Asheville’s spirit alive are not just heard but listened to as well

Housing Committee: one of AIR’s newest projects that fights to guarantee affordable housing to service industry workers


Giving Kitchen: an organization that provides food service workers with financial assistance in emergencies

CORE Childcare: an organization that provides financial assistance to food service workers with children in emergencies

Job Board: up-to-date job opportunities of all levels at AIR restaurants

Points of Service systems: programs that offer dedicated teams of representatives on standby 24/7 to specifically help at any time with operational issues, as well as provide employee benefits

Membership & Community

Range Urgent Care and Lantern Health: discounted health benefits and doctor visits. AIR’s longterm goal is to work as a collective bargaining voice in order to provide full service health insurance to restaurant employees in Asheville

Ben’s Friends: sobriety support group for restaurant workers

AIRmail & AIRfare: our newsletters where we celebrate your achievements, spread industry news, and keep our community updated and informed


Lenoir-Ryhne: tuition discounts of up to 20% and waived application fees for graduate degrees that are built with the need for flexibility in mind

Workshops: financial literacy and coaching, food photography, leadership and management, etc.

ServSafe Courses: in partnership with Goodwill Industries, in-person ServSafe courses are highly discounted for AIR employees in both English and Spanish

RASP Training: free educational programs about serving alcohol responsibly

Reach out to your restaurant GM or owner to access any of these benefits.