In an industry that's constantly looking to increase efficiency, it's no surprise that Michelin stars are a highly sought-after mark of approval. It all started in Clermont-Ferrand (a small French town) in 1889, when brothers Andre and Edouard Michelin founded their world-famous tyre company, fuelled by a grand vision for France’s automobile industry at a time when there were fewer than 3,000 cars in the country.
To help French motorists develop their trips, the Michelin brothers produced a small red guide filled with handy information on petrol stations, mechanics, and lodging. In time, it expanded to include restaurants, hotels, and attractions, with the now-familiar red cover.
The original purpose of the guide was to boost tire sales by promoting road travel and highlighting restaurants along the way. The guide is now an international standard for rating hotels and restaurants.
The criteria for the Michelin star vary slightly from region to region, but the standard for each restaurant is the same. In order to be awarded a Michelin star, a restaurant must meet high standards of excellence in three areas: food, service, and value for money.
What is a Michelin star?
The Michelin star, often shortened to the star, is one of three ranking systems used by the Michelin inspectors to guide restaurant recommendations. The other two systems are the Guide's overall star rating, which is given for excellent cooking in all categories, and Oakland's Bib Gourmand, which is given to an excellent restaurant that offers outstanding service and value for money. The difference between the two Guide systems is that the overall star rating enjoys much more widespread public awareness.
In order to be eligible for a Michelin star, a restaurant must be at least established and active in their region, but with no more than 10 years of history. Additionally, it must meet specific criteria during its most recent visit to receive a rating from the inspectors. The inspectors' rate restaurants on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the highest rating.
Importance of Michelin stars
The Michelin Guide is an essential reference for the restaurant industry. The Michelin guide is widely acknowledged as a solid indicator of the quality of restaurants in the world. The guide's influence extends far beyond just the restaurant industry, however, and has been influential in other fields as well, including real estate and education.
The influence of the Michelin Guide on restaurants is obvious to anyone who visits Europe or North America. Many visitors will choose a restaurant based on its appearance in the Michelin Guide. It is likely that such visitors would choose a restaurant based on its appearance if it did not appear in the guide, but would probably not choose a restaurant based only on appearance without some other factor to support its selection. These other factors might include recommendations from friends or other sources, word-of-mouth advertising, and even simple curiosity about what one might eat at such an establishment.
In addition to influencing individual choices about where to eat, the Michelin Guide influences decisions made by restaurants. The guide's influence on individual choices is obvious, but less so is the effect of the guide on restaurant marketing decisions.
Many restaurants spend considerable amounts of money on advertising, and some of these advertisements are explicitly targeted at the Michelin Guide. In some cases, the restaurant's advertising budget is so large that it is difficult to imagine a more effective way to advertise than by utilizing the Michelin Guide to market the restaurant and its quality food.
For example, some restaurants purchase advertisements in the Michelin Guide just as they would if they were purchasing newspaper ads or radio spots. This practice is so common that one might wonder how such an advertisement could be effective. The answer is simple: because it is in the guide, people will read about it, and because people will read about it, they will want to go there and try what is being advertised.
Similarly, when a new restaurant opens in a town with a strong Michelin Guide presence, most of the advertising for this new establishment will probably be directed at prospective customers who are already familiar with this guide.
How do you get a Michelin star?
If a restaurant meets the eligibility requirements and applies for a star, then it will be given a score out of 100, with 10 being the best and no stars being awarded for 91st-95th percentile scores. The inspections staff then assesses the scores and makes a recommendation to the owner, who then has the authority to either accept or decline the recommendation. If the owner elects to give the restaurant a star, then the staff will track the restaurant's performance over time and use that information to determine how much credit the star rating should receive.
Generally speaking, one-star indicates an excellent restaurant; two stars indicate a place "worth the detour"; and three stars mean "exceptional cuisine, worth the special journey".
How to win a Michelin star
To be considered for a star, a restaurant must consistently meet high standards. this includes offering an excellent experience to both the present customer and future ones. While the chefs and hosts work very hard to create the perfect meal, it must come across as genuine, not formulaic, and not "taste-off."
Additionally, the restaurant must have an excellent service rating, with no stars being awarded for bad or poor service. To be eligible for a star, a restaurant must be consistently recognized as one of the top-notch restaurants in the region.
If you can do all of these things, you'll be well on your way to winning a Michelin star.
Can a hotel lose Michelin stars?
A hotel can lose its star rating if it fails to meet the Michelin criteria. If a hotel, for example, does not consistently serve excellent food, or if its service is not of the highest caliber, it will likely lose one or more stars.
How to lose a Michelin star
If a restaurant suffers from a poor atmosphere, poor service, a low food rating, or is full of old favorites. Then they are likely to lose a star at some point. However, if a restaurant is in good enough shape to continue receiving high marks, then it will likely hold onto its star for a long time.
To be eligible for a star, a restaurant must have been listed among the top-notch restaurants in its region for at least the past five years.
The inspectors then use a five-star system to rate the restaurants, with a single star being the worst and five stars being the best. If a restaurant is not deemed worthy of a five-star rating, then it will be downgraded to the three-star level before being removed from the map.
Should you get a Michelin star?
If you own a restaurant, then, of course, you could aim to get a Michelin star. The stars are one of the most sought-after ratings in the industry, and they only come along once every decade. If you own a restaurant and you're interested in applying for a star, then there are a few things you need to consider.
First, the restaurant must be at least five years old and in good enough shape to continue receiving high marks. Second, it must be able to sustain that level of excellence for the next few years. Finally, the restaurant must meet specific criteria during its most recent visit to receive a rating from the inspectors. The inspectors' rate restaurants on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the highest rating.
The Michelin star has been a reliable guide to quality for over a century, and it still holds strong today. While the guide is not currently available in the United States, it is an excellent tool for restaurant owners to gain more insight into the country's different regions.