Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How to Support Local Restaurants

This was a response to a post on the Ashvegas blog. The post was about concern for struggling restaurants in Asheville and what might be done to help them.

This is the worst economic climate of our lives. I’ve stated the obvious, but times are tough and each person decides how they will make it through these tough times. As you make those decisions, remember your community. We will make it through these times better by sticking together. I serve as the President of the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association (AIR) and my full time job is the Assistant Food & Beverage Director of The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. I just want full disclosure so it’s not an issue for anyone.

AIR (http://airasheville.org/) exists because local restaurateurs banded together to help promote each other over the alternative – chain restaurants. The mission of AIR is to support and market our local member restaurants. Dining at a locally owned restaurant delivers more money back into your own community. Chain restaurants send the majority of their money somewhere else. Local restaurants are more likely to use local food and to give back more to their community than their chain counterparts. Local restaurants offer the Asheville experience rather than the same one you get across the nation.

But I don’t think anyone here is arguing any of the above. The question is: How to support Asheville restaurants? Dine at them. Choose them over the chain experience. That’s the easy answer. Also, encourage them to join AIR and to get engaged. We have lost some from our list also, but the restaurants that are the most involved locally seem to find a way to survive. The community involvement goes hand in hand with networking and promoting themselves. AIR helps show restaurants how to do just that.

Finally . . . a sales pitch, but also information about a great value for you. AIR offers the Main Course Dining card that offers buy one get one free entrĂ©es at 18 AIR restaurants valued at over $600.00 – your price $50.00 – go to http://airasheville.org/page/3105-AIR-Dining-Club.

If you do have a bad experience tell the manager or owner – don’t just leave and never return. We do not have the big budget training available to us that the chains do – help us to improve if that’s why you don’t dine with us. We want to serve you.

Remember to dine local independents when you go out for dinner.
Thank you!
Kevin

For more information about the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association website - click here.

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