From tyre manufacturing to prize-winning cuisine: the Michelin star

Michelin tyres are a world-famous brand. But what’s less well-known is that the tyre manufacturer is also the pioneer of one of the most sought-after awards in the hospitality industry. A journey from tyre manufacturer to prize-winning cuisine.

From tyre manufacturer to Michelin star gastronomy: the Michelin star

The meaning of the stars

 “very good cooking that’s worth stopping for”


“excellent cooking that’s worth a diversion”


 “exceptional cooking that’s worth a special journey”

The suitcases are packed and the car is stuffed to the gills. It’s time to set off – often with the idea that the destination is actually the journey itself. And with this in mind, who hasn’t made a little detour, added an interim stop, or taken a different turning, just to visit a restaurant that’s been warmly recommended by a friend? This concept set out by the Michelin brothers when they developed the Michelin Guide is one we follow quite intuitively.

The Michelin star story

First, let’s take a trip into the past. To France, in the year 1900. Brothers André and Édouard Michelin are running a company in Clermont-Ferrand in Central France that manufactures tyres. Business is sluggish. To boost their tyre sales, they come up with the Michelin Guide, a practical guidebook and route planner for drivers that includes petrol stations, garages and maps, and lists places to eat or stay overnight. The idea was that people who drive a lot would put more wear on their tyres and soon need new ones. The first edition of the Michelin Guide – intended for the 3,000 drivers in France at that time – was handed out as a promotional gift at the Paris Exposition in April 1900.

One star for good cooking

Over the years, the guide grew in popularity and significance. The Michelin brothers listed the recommended restaurants under certain categories and this was when the first inspectors appeared. A team of mystery diners permanently employed by the Michelin brothers visited restaurants anonymously and made their assessments. The first star was awarded in 1926; at that time one star was the maximum. Between 1931 and 1933, the assessment system was expanded to up to three star

The Michelin star goes international

After its success in France, the Michelin Guide expanded to other countries, and the star became a worldwide symbol of culinary excellence.

Modernisation and adaptation of the Michelin star

Over the years, the Michelin Guide has adapted to modern culinary trends. The categories have widened to acknowledge various gastronomic experiences, from street food to innovative concepts.   Nevertheless, the Michelin star remains a sought-after symbol of culinary artistry and is awarded for exceptional cooking.

A star to shed light on the culinary world

The history of the Michelin star leads from the country lanes of France to the metropolises of the world. From a marketing gimmick to a prestigious award, the Michelin star has shaped the world of the hospitality industry and remains a fascinating chapter in the history of culinary excellence.
The Michelin star is more than just a prize for top-class cooking: it’s a window onto the changing landscape of the hospitality industry that’s continually revitalised by passion and innovation.

The Michelin Man – the puffy white mascot

  • The Michelin Man has been the face of the Michelin brand since 1898.
  • His name is Bibendum (or Bib, for short).
  • In the Michelin Guides, a category for restaurants that serve good food at moderate prices is named after him: the Bib Gourmand
  • Tyres weren’t coloured black until 1912, which is why Bibendum is white. It was only later that carbon was added to the rubber mixture as a preservative and strengthener.
Source: Guide Michelin

Facts & Figures

  • The Michelin Guide is published in more than 41 countries worldwide.
  • The first stars in Germany were awarded in 1966.
  • Michelin stars are awarded to the restaurant, not the head chef. The head chef doesn’t take the star if they leave; it remains with the kitchen.
  • The strict assessment criteria are identical in all countries where the guide appears. Judgements are based on a long-established assessment system guided by objective standards.
  • In 2023, 334 restaurants in Germany received recognition – more than ever before.
  • As an official partner of the MICHELIN Guide, METRO also took part in presenting the sought-after awards this year.


From tyre manufacturer to Michelin star gastronomy: the Michelin star

More Facts & Figures

  • A permanently employed Michelin team works anonymously to select and test the locations. These are the inspectors.
  • The inspectors have training and experience in the highest levels of international cuisine and hospitality, and also undergo specialist training with Michelin.
  • The Michelin inspectors make reservations under assumed names and order, eat and pay for their meals like any other customer.
  • In 2020, a Green Star was introduced for restaurants operating especially sustainably
  • Restaurants that haven’t received a star but are considered worthy of recommendation by the inspectors receive a plate symbol (“Assiette”).

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