What can you learn from Michelin-starred restaurants and iconic establishments?

What makes great restaurants great? TableCheck investigates.



Nov 9, 2023 - 5 min read

What can you learn from Michelin-starred restaurants and iconic establishments?

Most restaurateurs will agree that when it comes to public acknowledgment and laurels, getting a Michelin star is probably the most coveted of honors. Michelin ranks restaurants using a non-disclosed rating system. However, the broad selection requirements are such that any restaurant that gets awarded a Michelin star, will see over time an increase in business and bookings.

This blog presents a list of factors that helped good restaurants break into the big leagues. Some of these benchmarks are derived from the revered Michelin Guide, while others are derived from tracking the journeys of world-famous restaurants. Any restaurant that aspires to develop legendary status in a few years would be wise to study and adopt these standards.

  • High-quality produce

  • Chefs with a mastery of culinary techniques

  • The personality of the chef in the cuisine 

  • Value for money

  • Consistency in food 

  • Concept, creativity, and originality

  • Stellar restaurant management 

  • Restaurant marketing 

This article will explore each of these criteria in detail.

1. High-quality produce

The components that go into a meal are just as critical to its success as the dish itself. Michael Ellis, who is the international director of Michelin Guides, highlighted the same theme while he was speaking at a trade seminar.

In order to get a Michelin star, a restaurant does not need to make use of rare or unusual ingredients; rather, it must make use of ingredients of the highest quality that are reasonably attainable. Take, for example, Wa Creations, which owns and operates a number of Japanese restaurants that have been honored with the highly regarded Michelin Stars.

In an exclusive interview with TableCheck, Wa Creations CEO Luke Clayton discussed the need for high-quality ingredients and emphasized their significance. He noted that their restaurant in Hong Kong has to frequently (five to six times a week) fly in fresh products. The items for lunch and supper are brought in a day before so that they are served fresh the next day. 

Simply put, if a business wants to attract customers and develop a legacy for itself, it must utilize the best ingredients and maintain certain quality standards.

2. Mastery of flavors and cooking techniques

While high-quality ingredients are important, they should not jeopardize the business's overall sustainability and viability. The emphasis should not be solely on obtaining exotic and luxe ingredients. The dish's flavors are, after all, what will ultimately captivate the customers.

At Sorn, one of Thailand’s most popular eating establishments and a two-Michelin-star restaurant, booking a table is nothing short of a challenge. Under the helm of Chef Supaksorn “Ice” Jongsiri, over the years Sorn has carefully built a sustainable network of local farmers and fishermen to source supplies. However, it is the revival of forgotten recipes and local culinary wisdom that draws epicureans from far and wide to Sorn.  

Aside from the culinary competence displayed by restaurants like Sorn, there are numerous culinary techniques that improve the guest experience. A good example of such a culinary technique is plating the food in such a way that it arrives at the table warm. There is meticulous planning that goes into defining this plating process, which necessitates training not only of the culinary crew but also of all the wait staff. 

3. Personality of the chef in the cuisine

The food at renowned restaurants is frequently a reflection of the chef's personality and journey, as shown in a number of notable culinary TV shows. Because cooking is an art form, there must be space for chefs to explore, learn, and create. However, the restaurant should be prepared for some culinary successes and failures along the path of experimentation.

Saint Pierre, located in Singapore, is renowned for its Michelin-starred cuisine and its chef, Emmanuel Stroobant. Emmanuel was trained in traditional French cooking, but he also spent time in Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia, where he was introduced to the innovative world of fusion cuisine. He believes that the cuisine at Saint Pierre reflects his gastronomic voyage that spans the east and west. Today, Saint Pierre is celebrated all over Singapore for its modern take on French cuisine.

4. Value for money

A memorable dining experience should leave guests feeling content that their money was well spent. There are several aspects that contribute to a customer's perception that they received value for their money; the restaurant's ambiance, friendly service, and delicious food are among the most crucial.

It is well known that Yu Yuan, the Seoul-based Cantonese restaurant, provides its customers with an unforgettable dining experience. Local, seasonal ingredients are used to recreate Chef de Cuisine Koo Kwok Fai's authentic recipes, while the restaurant's grandeur recreates the splendor of Shanghai’s roaring 1920s. The result is an unforgettable and delightful dining experience. 

5. Consistency of food

It often happens that a once popular restaurant loses returning customers due to deteriorating standards or inconsistent standards of the food. Even the Michelin Guide recognizes inconsistency as a pitfall and may take back its stars from renowned establishments. Of course, every restaurant has bad days. There could be a number of reasons why the food on a given day does not meet the customary standard; for example, the regular ingredients may be unavailable, or the pastry chef may be on sick leave.

However, producing consistently high-quality meals should be the aim.

6. Concept, creativity, and originality

A restaurant needs to have some sort of theme or concept that customers can get behind. Following a concept helps the business elevate its dining experience and create value for itself.

Consider the Kyoto restaurant Sushi Wakon, which is recognized for turning meals into an experience for its customers. Guests at Sushi Wakon can interact with the chefs and watch them as they execute precise, skillful movements to create one spectacular dish after another. In doing so, the establishment has been successful in giving its customers a "wow" experience.

7. Stellar restaurant management

Managing a restaurant is not for the faint-hearted. This job can quickly overwhelm someone because it entails so many responsibilities, such as resolving customer complaints, executing social media marketing, employing wait staff, and evaluating inventory, just to name a few. The manager's job is vital since even the tiniest missing cog in this chaotic system might ruin the diners' experience and earn the restaurant bad reviews. 

8. Restaurant marketing

The landscape of marketing has undergone a radical transformation as a direct result of the proliferation of social media. Although the majority of restaurateurs in the past relied on word-of-mouth and newspaper advertisements to build their businesses, the restaurant industry is currently marked by significantly increased levels of competition and complexity in advertising.

A special mention should be made of reservation platforms like TableCheck, which makes creating marketing campaigns easier for those restaurants that want to cultivate a dedicated customer base through the use of targeted EDMs or electronic direct mail marketing.

Server prepares the table for guests

There are several strategies that restaurants may use to capture the interest of their patrons and boost the number of people who walk through their doors.

  • Emails and e-newsletters – Inform patrons about new menus, deals, discounts, and special events, or send a celebratory email with offers on their birthdays and anniversaries. 

  • Food photography Use the services of professional photographers to click appetizing and ‘ shareable’ media of the food, decor, guests, and events to generate social media buzz. 

  • Run contests – Hold contests to generate awareness and encourage word-of-mouth.  

  • Websites Restaurant-owned websites to feature updated menus, news, contests, and curated recipes. 

  • Restaurant apps and Google Business Profile – To improve the chances of being found online by high-intent users, eateries should register with delivery apps, restaurant review websites, online directories, and Google Business Profile.

Michelin and TableCheck partnership

Managing a restaurant is an industry that requires a variety of elements, from the selection of ingredients to customer service and marketing. Use these strategies to win the hearts of guests and create the best restaurant experience possible for them

TableCheck is officially affiliated with the Michelin Guide, enabling users to make online reservations for listed restaurants from the Michelin Guide's official website.

TableCheck helps Michelin-starred restaurants maximize their online reservations, optimize outlet operations, and elevate guest hospitality and loyalty through features like Waitlist Management, TableCheck EDM, Survey, and TableCheck Insight. TableCheck is used by more than 8000+ hospitality operators worldwide to offer their guests award-winning experiences.

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