Are you a restaurateur looking to receive international acclaim? Then you’re most likely wondering: “how do you earn a Michelin star?”
Michelin stars are among the most sought-after honors in the culinary arts world, and nearly every chef strives for one throughout their careers. Most aspiring restaurant cooks fantasize about achieving a coveted Michelin star at some time. Not only will winning one earn you recognition in the business, but it will also provide your venue a massive boost in revenue. So, how does a restaurant get a Michelin star? More importantly, how can someone just starting out in the culinary arts learn how to get a Michelin star in the future?
Since the early 1900s, the Michelin tire business has been manufacturing its distinctive Michelin Guides. The guides' earlier iterations included suggestions for the best restaurants and motels in a particular region, with the objective of enticing people to drive there so that they would need to replace their worn-out tires. The Michelin Guide has become the gold standard for restaurant and hotel recommendations throughout the years.
If you’ve ever looked up an eatery online, you’ve probably concluded that a one-star rating denotes poor quality and dissatisfied customers. The Michelin Guide, on the other hand, isn't your typical review site.
According to the Michelin guide, a single Michelin star signifies excellence. Learning how to get a Michelin star can have enormous consequences on a restaurant's performance. Receiving just one star has long been regarded as signaling authority on the world's most extraordinary dining experiences. A restaurant with three stars is unquestionably one of the greatest in the world. In fact, many individuals plan trips entirely around visiting Michelin-starred restaurants.
It's easy to see why chefs are so keen on learning the Michelin star requirements; earning at least one Michelin Star can do wonders for a restaurant's bottom line. Michelin also honors restaurants that are on the rise, in addition to the stars themselves. If the restaurant improves in quality, they may be eligible for a star or more stars if they already have one or two.
Only the best restaurants in the world receive Michelin stars, which are awarded on a scale of one to three. A restaurant must be "a very good restaurant in their category" to receive a Michelin star. "Excellent cooking, worth a detour" is required for two stars. A restaurant must provide "exceptional food, worthy of a special journey" to receive three stars. How many Michelin stars can a restaurant get? It depends on its ability to deliver high-quality food and a unique experience consistently.
Michelin Stars, created in France, a country famed for its culinary prowess, first appeared in the Michelin guide books released in 1900 by the Michelin tire company's founders, André and Edouard Michelin. The brothers, who founded the firm in 1889, were seeking a way to persuade the small number of drivers at the time to make more travels and, as a result, buy more tires. The book provided motorists with a plethora of information, including locating the most sumptuous meals and lodging while on the road.
The handy little guidebook was initially free until it relaunched in 1920, costing seven francs, listing lodging and eateries by category. As the guide gained popularity, it adopted the Michelin star system, ranging from zero to three, beginning in 1931.
By 1933, there were 23 three-star restaurants in France. It was expanded to include additional European nations, and the three-star rating system was reinstated in the 1951 edition, having been discontinued during and shortly after WWII. However, the threshold had been increased this time, resulting in fewer eateries receiving the highest grade.
The Michelin Guide has increased its reach to 30 regions across three continents, which has led to the necessity of bringing on culinary experts to conduct the reviews. To this end, the Michelin brothers brought on a team of mystery diners, known today as "inspectors," to dine at and rate restaurants according to the guidelines of the Michelin star criteria, anonymously, so restaurants don't know when they're being considered for a star.
So, what does it take to get a Michelin star?
Receiving a Michelin star is not a simple or straightforward process. The Michelin Guide inspectors go to great lengths to maintain their anonymity. As a result, a chef will never know when they’re being judged for star status. The objective is to see how chefs prepare and serve their cuisine on a regular basis, rather than only when they are feeding a VIP or food critic.
Michelin inspectors assess every element of a restaurant, from the length of time it takes to be seated, to the friendliness of the serving personnel, to the food's quality and inventiveness, to the entire ambiance. Chefs may improve their chances of being evaluated for a star by paying close attention to every element of their restaurants, not just the cuisine, despite the lack of established standards.
Although the cuisine is one of the most significant components, the reviews are impressed by the complete package. In order to create a Michelin-star-worthy dining experience, meticulous attention to detail is essential. Even if your restaurant is well-known and well-received, Michelin stars cannot be granted unless it’s located in a Michelin-covered city. On the other hand, Michelin will occasionally develop new city guides, as it did recently with Los Angeles.
While décor and service quality are essential aspects of a great restaurant experience, Michelin places a greater focus on the cuisine. These are the five evaluation criteria that both domestic and international Michelin Guide inspectors use, according to a 2018 Michelin panel:
Obtaining a Michelin Star typically requires the finest of ingredients. This might involve going above and beyond to acquire materials directly rather than depending on various vendors. While it’s essential to utilize fresh food and ingredients while obtaining inspector clearance, this does not mean that restaurants must use only expensive ingredients such as truffles, foie gras, and turbot. It's all about elevating the ingredients or using them in a truly unique way.
It's crucial to strike a balance when presenting the components of cuisine, but it's also important to be realistic and maintain the business's long-term viability. You’re simply showcasing luxury if you utilize too many premium ingredients without a unique flair. Cooking procedures are essential in addition to food quality, as a diner's expectations of a restaurant are determined by how much they pay for a meal. A Michelin-starred restaurant must pay close attention to the smallest details, such as the time it takes from the kitchen to the table, to ensure that the food does not arrive cold and the diner’s experience is exceptional from start to finish.
Chefs tend to have vibrant characteristics, and allowing this to come through via the dish is another crucial consideration. Allowing individuality into the meals served will also help the restaurant develop a valuable creative environment and a stellar reputation.
Value for money may be defined in a variety of ways, but for Michelin inspectors, the most critical factor is having a memorable overall experience. From casual to one-star, all restaurants should strive to ensure that their patrons are satisfied and treated fairly during their visit. A restaurant's quality should encompass the entire experience, from the service staff's attentiveness to the ambiance to the food.
The loss of a star can be attributed to a lack of consistency in both the cuisine supplied and the overall experience. Because the reality of running a restaurant is that deliveries don't always arrive on time and employees don't always show up, inspectors will visit two or three times before reaching a rating determination. A restaurant cannot entrust the skill required to make these meals entirely to the hands of a single chef. That’s why, in order to minimize dish discrepancies, proper chef and cook training is essential. Before reaching a judgment, inspectors visit a restaurant multiple times, each time with a different inspector.
Losing a Michelin star can be a traumatic experience. The Michelin method as a whole is a tightly guarded trade secret. However, just as little is known about how to get a Michelin star, less is known about how they are lost. However, there are a few ideas as to how the process works.
An anonymous Michelin inspector will plan to visit an eatery once every two years or so. There will be more visits if the restaurant is marked as possibly increasing or decreasing in the star rating. A one-star restaurant will receive around four inspections before it earns its second, while inspectors will typically visit a three-star restaurant at least ten times.
The obvious response is that Michelin stars are lost when culinary quality deteriorates. However, because this is the Michelin guide, the solution is a little more complicated. When they award or take away a star, they realize how much of a difference it makes to someone's business. So, in order to assure consistency, they must be entirely confident and visit the establishment as many times as necessary.
Once a restaurant receives its first star, it’s likely to receive immediate attention from the local media and garner a slew of new customers. However, this newfound accomplishment will bring a lot more pressure and might exact mental strain when the chefs seek to maintain that level or move to two or three stars. Because this can take years, if not decades, make sure everyone on the team is aware of this risk.
Aside from bringing in new clientele, the star may also cause a host of changes in your company. Everything in your restaurant will be scrutinized, and guests will have exceptionally high expectations. To achieve uniformity, line cooks may feel the tension and perform more mechanically. These developments may require restaurant owners to provide pay increases or incentives to employees to prevent burnout and maintain strong morale.
If you want to obtain a Michelin star for your restaurant, you should be aware of the difficulties of getting there and retaining it. While receiving a Michelin star has its drawbacks, the rewards and prestige it confers are clear. Even the challenges that come with distinction may teach restaurateurs valuable lessons. They act as powerful reminders to stay focused on what you love: producing outstanding meals and giving customers an amazing and unique experience at your restaurant.
Restaurants that have been awarded Michelin stars have historically experienced a substantial boost in sales. According to Jol Robuchon, the French chef and restaurateur who has been given the most Michelin stars in the world, in an interview with Food & Wine:
You don't have to rely on accolades to realize you're doing something right. While learning how to get a Michelin star can help you generate higher revenue, there are steps you can take today. To keep learning and to improve, ask yourself the following questions:
It’s crucial to examine the performance of your business as a whole. You can find critical metrics on your POS platform to help you assess your restaurant's success on your own terms. Today's POS serves as the backbone to a company's finances, managing everything from payments, to order processing, to analytics.
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