The Alliance of Independent Restaurants (AIR), a platform set up for owners and operators of independent hospitality businesses, is to expand on a nationwide scale with a new membership scheme, it announced today.
The move comes after a series of breakfast briefings held in London by the organisation, and was announced today at its latest meeting at Joe Allen restaurant in Covent Garden.
AIR chief executive Mark Linehan unveiled the forthcoming plans to an audience of industry members and independent restaurateurs at the event.
Launched via a new website, the AIR membership scheme, which is free to join, has been designed to provide a platform for services and support within the independent restaurant sector.
The new searchable directory, which will launch on 17 March, features suppliers of F&B produce, equipment and services that have chosen by AIR.
The directory also features a recommended group of AIR partners who currently provide services to one or more of the co-founders, and who will offer exclusive member benefits - these will include HR consultants (my) HR Director; energy brokers Powerful Allies; procurement specialists, The Full Range; and solicitors Thomson Snell & Passmore.
A series of events is planned throughout the year, set up to provide networking opportunities within the independent hospitality sector. Among them, is a programme of workshops which are designed to be a little more formal and will be led by experts in the field to advise and teach members how to build a successful independent business.
Linehan also announced plans for a regular supper club, to be held six times a year and held at member restaurants, allowing further opportunity for peers and colleagues to meet.
The breakfast briefing also saw a lively panel discussion on what it means to be an independent restaurant and many of the issues facing the sector. The panel was chaired by Tim Healy, co-owner of Joe Allen, and made up of respected industry figures including Eric Guignard, founder of the French Table, Joel Kissin of Boulestin, and restaurant consultant, Seb Fogg.