What AIR is about…
Our aim is to join forces with fellow Independents and Suppliers to give all AIR Members a better future by:
- Securing financial and professional service benefits for each other
- Sharing expertise, experience and connections for the benefit of each other
- Supporting, inspiring and encouraging each other
How AIR came to be…
The origins of AIR date back to around 2008. Ten small restaurateurs would meet once a month in West London, drinking coffee and sharing our woes. Satisfying, yes, but making a big difference to our businesses, no. So, we decided to do something about it.
It was obvious that we all shared the same challenges, but as individual operators, those challenges were often daunting, at times feeling insurmountable.
We soon realised that if we joined forces, uniting as one, there would be a real opportunity to grow our businesses, to enjoy better buying power, to be more cost-effective, to outsource professional services and – more to the point – to give and receive support from those on the same journey as ours.
We soon found that by sharing our contacts and tip & tricks learned along the way, we were saving ourselves time, money and, very often, heartache. We recognised the true value of mutual support, of strength in numbers, of forming an organised group that would unify Independents, be a voice, be a friend, be a useful address book … and provide some all-important buying power to challenge the branded chains and corporate sponsored eateries which had begun to march onto the high street.
Once we had realised that sharing was the key, we wanted our fellow Independents to benefit, too. And that is when AIR was born – a true alliance of innovative, proactive Independents helping one another by pooling our ideas, resources and wisdom.
Over the coming months, the group met weekly, working hard on a plan, a plan to build a website dedicated to Independents within the restaurant & hospitality sector, a plan to gather Members and stand united against the big chains, a plan to assemble a Directory of fantastic Suppliers who were eager to work with Independents and who were passionate about their produce, a plan to enlist service providers willing to cut their profits to work with its Members. Yes, it was a big plan, but after months of hard work, gallons of coffee and 274 croissants, here we are.
AIR is still co-owned and managed by five of that original West London cappuccino clan and our mission remains the same … to join together and give all of our Members a better future by standing as one.
So there you have it. The very words that launched AIR. If you would like to be involved in this ambitious, exciting project, then we would love you to join us!
Erick, Lawrence, Paul, Sarah & Tim