The History of Michelin Tires Creating The Michelin Star Rating System

The History of Michelin Tires Creating The Michelin Star Rating System

Have you ever wondered how the Michelin star rating system came to be? 

The beginning or the star rating system began in the 20th century and it was inspired by nothing closely related to cuisine. 

The first ever Michelin guide was compiled in the 1900s by French industrialists Andre Michelin along with his brother Edouard Michelin who founded the Michelin Tyre Company in 1888. At this time, there were only 3,000 cars on the road in France. To increase the demand of automobiles & tires, the Michelin brothers made the decision to publish a guide to French motorists. 

Their first print of magazines was 35,000 copies. The magazine included maps, instructions on how to repair and change tires, & it also included a list of restaurants, hotels, mechanics, gas stations along the popular routes In France. The best of all of this was the Michelin brothers gave away their magazine for FREE.

The magazine took a different direction after the outbreak of the war in 1914. The magazine included a map and it was being used as a routing tool for the Allied forces. After the war, the Michelin brothers decided to ramp up the quality of the guide. They took out the advertising out of the magazine and began to charge for it. 

They shifted their focus towards a rating system that was focused on fine dining establishments in France. In 1931, the rating system expanded to become the Michelin 3-star rating system. 

1 star: A very good restaurant in its category.

2 stars: Excellent cooking, worth a detour.

3 stars: Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.

The Michelin star rating didn’t take hold in America until 2005 and concentrated solely on fine dining in New York.

Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Macau were added to the Guide between 2007-2008. It now covers 23 countries, with 14 editions sold in 90 countries around the world.

During the rest of 20th century, thanks to its serious and unique approach, the Michelin Guides became best-sellers: the guide now rates over 40,000 establishments in over 24 territories across three continents, and more than 30 million MICHELIN Guides have been sold worldwide since.

Takeaway: The Michelin story shows how important it is to be a thought leader in your industry. The magazine positioned Michelin to become the go-to trust source for automobiles and tires. It educated individuals on what it’s like to own a car and how you can buy one. They were the first ones to do it and it paved the way for them to build a legacy brand. It allowed them to build a relationship with customers and for the customer to only go to them when they want to buy new tires. This domain authority also led to them being the leaders in the culinary space where they are the trusted leader within fine dining critique.
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