Photo Credit: Photo: Lynne Harty

Membership Benefits

Since its inception in 2003, Asheville Independent Restaurants has fostered a network of restauranteurs, 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 actively engaged in giving back to our town through local events and causes, culinary scholarships, and support of local businesses.

The following are just some of the many benefits available to AIR members, including everything from education, to marketing, to ways that we can help save you money… that said, given the situation currently with COVID 19, we are not able to honor every benefit listed below at this time.



  • Taste of Asheville: AIR’s signature event and fundraiser, the Taste of Asheville showcases AIR Restaurants and Partners.
  • AIR Passport: Restaurants are heavily promoted through the sales of the Passport. This is free to participate in and with over 1,000 sold this is a great way to grow business.
  • AIRmail: Each week our specialized e-newsletter provides information on upcoming AIR events, educational opportunities, relevant issues and ideas, as well as, news about our membership and the organization.
  • AIRfare: Our monthly public e-newsletter that connects our local food lovers to you! Each month we feature three chefs and/or owners with a professional photo and an interview. We also highlight openings, events, AIR related products, and any other foodie news.


  • Always Food Safe Certifications: Always Food Safe is an ANSI accredited, specialist web-based e-learning provider for the food service sectors.
    We offer Food Protection Manager, Food Handler and Allergen Awareness training courses.
  • Industry Focused Courses and Workshops: Many of our AIR Partners provide classes and workshop focused on various industry topics ranging from management workshops, senior leadership classes, owners only discussions, to best business practices and service standards to legislation and regulation.


  • AIR Partners: Our website allows you to easily search through several vendors who are AIR Partners. These vendors have joined AIR to work closer with your business. You can easily navigate this list by category.
  • Job Board: Adding someone new to your team? Email with your exact job description and we will get it posted for you.


AIR only advocates for issues that will positively affect the majority of our members. An example of a recent change we were able to create: bars and restaurants can now have their ABC tax ID stickers on the back of the liquor bottles, also the brunch bill was something AIR advocated for with our locally elected officials. The organization will continue to cautiously pursue issues.



AIR Restaurant Membership ($495): To become an AIR Restaurant Member your business must have seating, food/beverage service and be independently owned and operated within Buncombe County.

AIR Sponsorship: Please contact our office at 828.575.9220 or email to discuss sponsorship opportunities.

Still have questions? Reach out to the AIR team via email at or by phone at 828.575.9220.