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Michelin Star Restaurants: A Complete Guide to Running One

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Earning a Michelin Star is an incredible honor for any business owner in the restaurant industry. Getting one or even more Michelin Stars is hard, but keeping them may be even harder. 

We know that well and we want to help you on your journey. Let’s look into what other Michelin Star restaurants (which is not the same as Michelin Star chefs) are doing to keep the quality of food and service high. Also, let’s learn from the mistakes they’ve made to avoid losing the Star(s) you already got. 

We will pay special attention to beverage management, creating good food and drink pairings, and keeping your inventory organized. Let’s get started!

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How to Earn a Michelin Star 

A Michelin Star can boost the profitability of any restaurant. It will make the place better known too, which the restaurant manager always wants. That’s why you should know how to earn a Michelin Star or even two or three!

How to Get One, Two, or Three Stars

Michelin Stars are given to restaurants serving outstanding dishes. Each restaurant can earn one, two, or three Michelin stars. One Michelin Star means “a very good restaurant in this category.” Two Stars mean “excellent cooking, worth a detour”. To get three Stars, you need to offer “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”

Inspectors from a specific area meet up once they’ve been to several restaurants considered for the award. They discuss all the places they’ve inspected and discuss the ratings of each restaurant. In the end, they decide whether to give any Stars and if so, how many Stars each restaurant deserves. 

The results are published in a country-specific Michelin Star Guide. You can search for Michelin Star restaurants online, too. 

How to Earn a Michelin Star?

There are different types of chefs and restaurants, but the criteria are the same. In the end, any restaurant can get a Star but in a different category. The criteria are: 

  • Using ingredients of high quality
  • Mastery of the culinary techniques
  • Chef’s personality showcased in the food
  • Value for money
  • Consistency of food and dining experience

Food and Beverage Pairings

Although not part of the criteria, beverages can play a huge role in becoming a Michelin Star restaurant. Great food and beverage pairings will enhance the flavors of the dish and boost customer satisfaction

Now, let’s talk about different types of beverages to include on the menu and how they pair with food!

Beer Pairing Options for Michelin Star Restaurants

Michelin Star cuisine should be served with quality drinks. Beverage management is always important in the restaurant industry but especially so if you are striving for a Star or already have one or a few.

According to research, 6 in every 10 adult Americans enjoy alcohol. Most of them prefer beer to everything else. This is a clear sign you should serve beer and consider how it will pair with the food. 

Beer Pairings

As a business owner, you need to understand the importance of serving beer. Whether it’s beer on tap or canned beer, give your guests what they want! 

To make good food and beer pairings, you must understand the various styles of beer. Here’s a quick guide on that!

  • Light Lagers are great for pairing with spicy foods, but they can be had with just about any type of dish. They are commonly combined with buffalo wings, hot dogs, french fries, and noodles. However, Michelin Star restaurants can also serve it. Try a salad or seafood pairing, for example.
  • Wheat Beer is very versatile and can be paired with various types of foods. From salads and spicy noodles to fruit tarts and pastries - it goes well with many dishes. Make sure you have great wheat beers on your great menu!
  • India pale ales (also known as IPAs) offer a wide variety. Because of that, there is no particular rule when it comes to craft beer food pairing. Some popular pairings are steak, barbecue ribs, curry, fajitas, and burritos.
  • Amber ales are excellent beers for cleansing your palate. Serve amber ales with brisket, pizza, jerk chicken, and barbecue pulled pork. 
  • Dark lagers go great with hearty traditional European dishes. This beer can be paired with goulash, burgers, pizza, bangers and mash, and sausages. 
  • Brown ales are also versatile. They go with almost everything. The rich chocolate and nutty flavors of the beer go well with sausage, fish, sushi, roast pork, and barbecue.
  • Porters have a rich and deep flavor. It is best to pair them with foods that have a similar taste and texture. They go well with Mexican mole, rabbit, venison, crab, lobster, and game meats. 
  • Stouts have a chocolaty flavor and low alcohol content. They are the perfect pairing for desserts. They also go well with shellfish, lobster, barbecue, chocolate mousse, and chocolate truffles. 
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Tea Pairing Options for Michelin Star Restaurants

Another very popular drink worldwide is tea. Tea pairings are not as easy to achieve as some classic food and wine pairing options or the beer pairing options we already discussed. That’s why, we’ve gathered this simple guide on how to pair tea with Michelin Star restaurant dishes. 

Main Rules of Tea Pairing

The abundance of tea nowadays can be overwhelming. To create a good food and tea pairing, you need to know some basic rules. 

  • Black teas go well with hearty, rich foods like roast meats. For example - lamb, beef, and venison. Heavy pasta dishes like lasagna are a great pairing, too.
  • Green teas combine well with vegetarian dishes. They go with salads, mild green curries, and light chicken dishes.
  • White teas are best paired with very light foods like white fish, mild cheeses, and desserts.
  • Oolong teas pair perfectly with smoked cheeses and meats, herby dishes, and fruity desserts.
  • Fruit and scented teas are great with cakes, complex desserts, and dark chocolate. Some also go well with spicy meats. 
  • Full-bodied Chai teas are a great pair for exotic Turkish sweetmeats and Indian pastries.

Tea can be paired with various foods and can be included in some dishes. Teas can be added as ingredients in curries, desserts, and even cocktail drinks

Creating a Signature Cocktail for Michelin Restaurants

A signature cocktail can set your restaurant apart from the competition. The drink should match the concept of the restaurant and tie together your menu, and the restaurant branding

Any bartender should be able to mix a classic drink. But creating a unique cocktail can bring in more customers. You can choose to add a seasonal signature drink for an added sense of exclusivity. 

Where to Start When Creating a Signature Drink

Working with a professional mixologist to create the drink is highly recommended. You can discuss with them different options. Definitely consider the type of food you are serving and what’s your signature dish. Combining the signature drink with your signature dish can play a huge role in your restaurant’s success.

How to Create a Signature Cocktail

Here’s an easy-to-follow guide on how to create a signature drink for Michelin Star restaurants. 

  • Choose spirits guests prefer. Think about the customer first. It’s not about what you like most. Gather information with the help of your bar staff. Think about the color of the liquor as well, because the look of the drink can be tied in with the branding of the restaurant. 
  • Add a seasonal or special ingredient. Try both options if you would like and see what will fit best your concept and the food you offer. If you go the seasonal route, just keep in mind that you may have to create a few signature drinks. 
  • Keep adding ingredients. Try adding some alcohol-based ingredients like vermouth and liqueurs, but also other seasonal or unique to your area components. 
  • Think about the glassware. Quality and stylish glassware, as well as a beautiful garnish that will complement the look of the cocktail, are very important. Experiment with glassware and garnish until you achieve the perfect look.
  • Try it out! Serving great cocktails doesn’t always come easy. You should put a few to the test in order to select the best ones for your menu. You can try limited-time offers and see what customers actually prefer before you add anything to your permanent menu.
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Exploring the Cocktail Menus of Michelin Restaurants

The finger-licking-good food in your restaurant can win you a Michelin Star. But when you combine amazing food with the right type of wine or cocktail, it can make a world of difference. 

To give you some inspiration for your own beverage menu, let’s look into the menus of some Michelin Star restaurants! Here’s a list of the best cocktails in some of the most popular US restaurants..

  • ZZ’s Clam Bar, New York - 1 Star. The best cocktails on their menu are Treacle, Peanut Butter, and Celery. These are one of the best bourbon cocktails and the best gin cocktails served at ZZ’s Clam Bar. All the cocktails combine well with the diverse cuisine of the place.
  • Mourad, San Francisco - 1 Star. Two cocktails from this place that are worth a mention are Banana + Smoke and Bay Leaf + Chamomile. They complement in a unique way the Morrocan-inspired cuisine of the place that also has a modern vibe. 
  • Acadia, Chicago - 2 Stars. The best ones to try are Sex & Violets or the classic Vieux Carré. The first one is made of vodka, violet sugar, white vermouth, citron vinegar, plus lavender sea salt, and egg white.
  • Rose’s Luxury, Washington, D.C. - 1 Star. In this restaurant, you can choose from a variety of “everyday,” “of the moment,” “luxury” or “throwback cocktails.” They include intriguing combinations of gin, wasabi, green tea, lime, and ginger. 

Inventory Organization for Michelin-Star Restaurants

Owning a restaurant and knowing how to maximize profits are two separate things. An enormous part of having a successful and profitable business is handling inventory organization properly. 

Having an excessive amount of alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages can eat away at your profits. Even though alcohol expiration is rarely an issue, the beverages can take up too much space and make finding what’s needed harder. They can slow down your bar staff and create other, more serious problems.

Here’s how you organize your inventory to make the operations of any Michelin Star restaurant smoother!

  • Find an organizational method that works. When guests are served fast, your restaurant will enjoy a higher customer satisfaction rate. A system for wine bottles you can try is storing them in the same order as they are on the menu. This will also be useful when taking inventory because everyone will know where to put the bottles.
  • Label the shelves. Print labels for the different types of beverages and put them on the shelves. This way, every staff member will place bottles where they belong, and lots of time wasting and other issues will be prevented. 
  • Avoid double-duty storage rooms. Storing things besides beverages in your storage room can create a huge mess, which will slow down staff members and may lead to incidents. 
  • Choose an inventory method. Try different approaches. Getting the inventory done by a single person can prevent mistakes. However, if you use a team approach, you will save a lot of time. 
  • Use inventory tracking technology. Technology can help you streamline the operations of your restaurant. Taking inventory, digital ordering, and getting accurate data on what customers prefer most, are just a few of the great features an inventory tracking software offers. BinWise is a platform that can do that and so much more for you! 
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How to Run Michelin Star Restaurants

Congratulations! You’ve earned the Michelin Star or Stars you’ve been working so hard for! Now, let’s talk about what changes you should make to keep your business running smoothly.

Once your restaurant’s name appears in the Guide, more people will want to visit and try your incredible food. So when you are done celebrating this amazing accomplishment, you and your kitchen staff and everyone else, have to prepare for some more hard work. 

1. Prepare the Space

Earning a Star will spark people’s interest. As a result, you may get a lot more customers than before. That’s why you must prepare the space you have for the influx of customers. 

If you can add more tables, do that. Just make sure people will feel comfortable and won’t be too close to the people from other tables. However, you should not feel obligated to seat more people. You know the place well, and you may find a good way to add a few more seats. 

Do it only if it won’t make it harder for the waiters to serve the guests. Although a Michelin Star is not awarded for the layout and design of the space, it can make or break a great customer experience

2. Inventory Organization

One way to ensure that the waiters and bartenders will serve clients as quickly as possible is by organizing the inventory. 

Invest time to organize the liquor storage. We know people will visit mostly for the unique dishes, but drinks are important too if you want to increase customer satisfaction. Organize bottles by types of alcohol, label the shelves, and don’t store other items in the beverage storage space.

3. Think about Food and Beverage Pairings

We already talked about beer and tea pairing options. However, a very important category is food and wine pairing which needs some extra thought and preparation. If you want to step up the fine dining experience in your restaurant, it’s worth spending time and money to improve your wine program. 

4. Keep Adding Value

One of the criteria to get a Michelin Star is the value for money customers get through the food in the restaurant. One way to add value for the customers, however, is via beverages as well. 

How Not to Lose a Michelin Star

Michelin Stars are not awarded forever. You can earn one or a few but you can also lose them all. In this section, we want to give you more insights on how you can lose the Michelin Stars you’ve already acquired so you can prevent that from happening. 

How Often Do Reviewers Visit? 

Michelin inspectors come anonymously to your restaurant, try a few dishes and then create a report. If they like the food, they will visit again and write another report. 

Usually, the inspectors would visit every 18 months. However, if your restaurant is currently flagged as one to potentially lose or get a Star, they will visit much sooner. No final decisions are made before a few inspections are done. 

How Do You Lose a Michelin Star?

A restaurant will lose its Michelin Star(s) if they fail to keep the consistency of the dishes and lower the quality in general.

It will take a few inspections before the experts decide to take away a Star. They know how this can affect the business so the decision is made only after careful consideration. 

So to keep your Star(s), you should focus on keeping the quality of the food high and being consistent in what you offer. 

Being Successful in the Restaurant Industry

A Michelin Star is a symbol of success but even without it, your restaurant can be very successful. What’s truly important is how the food is made and presented. The quality and freshness of the ingredients are of utmost importance as well. 

Don’t forget that beverages can make a difference too and plan your beverage program in accordance with your food menu. Stay consistent in what you do, and success will follow!

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