Photo Credit: Photo: Lynne Harty

Membership Benefits

Since its inception in 2003, the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association 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, causes, 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 creative healthcare options for your employees, to ways that we can help save you money.


  • 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 connects our local food lovers to you! Each month, we include three stories featuring owners, chefs, makers and more with a professional photo and an interview. We also highlight openings, events, AIR-related products, and other foodie news.
  • AIR Website:, includes a directory of AIR restaurant members with logo or image, location and link to restaurant website. The AIR directory is searchable by type of food, neighborhood and other amenities.
  • Taste of Asheville: AIR’s signature event and fundraiser, the Taste of Asheville showcases AIR Restaurants and Partners. Approximate attendance 700 people, primarily loyal local food lovers.
  • AIR Passport: Restaurants are heavily promoted through the sales of the Passport. Free to participate in, and with over 1,000 sold, this is a great way to grow business.
  • Social Media Cross Promotion: AIR shares our member’s events, news, specials and more to our highly engaged social media following.


  • Always Food Safe Certifications: Always Food Safe is an ANSI-accredited, specialist web-based e-learning provider for the food service sectors. Through AIR’s partnership with AFS, we are able to offer discounted training to our members. Available online training includes Food Protection Manager, Food Handler and Allergen Awareness. We’re working on getting in-person trainings going again, stay tuned. 
  • Industry Focused Courses and Workshops: Many of our AIR Partners provide classes and workshops focused on various industry topics including management workshops, senior leadership classes, owners-only discussions, best business practices, service standards, legislation, and regulation.


  • Exclusive discounted health, pharmacy, and dental benefit programs for your employees. Click here for more info
  • Our partnership with Employee Assistance Network (EAN) offers our restaurant members discounted rates on mental and behavioral health resources for their employees. More info here.
  • 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.
  • Opportunity to serve on AIR committees to further connect on issues including advocacy, workforce, and sustainability.


AIR advocates for issues that will positively affect the majority of our members. The organization will continue to monitor issues that impact our industry. AIR maintains relationships with local and state elected officials to stay current on legislative issues that may impact our industry.


AIR Restaurant Membership ($495): To become an AIR Restaurant Member your business must have seating, food/beverage service, and have originated in and is operationally controlled in 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.