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DEBATE: Do Michelin stars really matter to guests anymore?

Minestrone_de_mangue_à_la_coriandre,_lait_de_coco_et_ananas_Michelin_star_restaurant

Michelin stars have been the ambition and envy of many a chef for more than a century, but now with relaxed, casual dining on the rise, do guests really make booking decisions based on stars anymore?

NO

Joost de Kruiff, general manager, New Road Hotel, Whitechapel

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“We don’t believe that Michelin stars are critical for our guests here at Mr Whites English Chophouse. The most important aspect of our dining experience within New Road Hotel is that we serve good quality food at affordable pricing. Our main aim is to make eating out accessible for all to enjoy no matter their budget.” 

YES AND NO

Richard Ball, executive chairman, Calcot Collection

“They are certainly seen as a respected endorsement of quality, and to a certain band of “foody” they are a strong influence in the choice of restaurant. But they can also conjure up visions of pomposity and over-elaboration which can be really downer to the growing majority of diners who are looking for so much more from a restaurant than food worship. We cook for our customers, and not for guide criteria. Its liberating!”

YES

Alan and Angela Harper, owners, Pale Hall

“Michelin stars, like AA Rosettes are an industry marker of excellence, do guests want a piece of that? Yes, I think they do. A loyal guest base wants somewhere they love to succeed, stars and rosettes are part of that journey. For others bagging Michelin stars are like bagging a Munro, a name or a number to drop. In and of themselves they are not enough to keep guests returning, for that a sense of welcome, warmth and place must be there too.”

YES AND NO

Keith Makepeace, owner, Soar Mill Cove

Owner, Soar Mill Cove

“Michelin stars are more important to chefs than to guests. To many guests they warn of overpriced ego-driven chefs creating dishes to impress rather than please. Dining is a simple pleasure that requires great ingredients to be well prepared and presented. Dining should not challenge our senses where style leads over substance. Of course when the chef gets it right and serves food in a way that has enhanced its flavour in a sublime manner then this is when the stars should be awarded and well done to the chefs who have achieved this level with consistency. Unfortunately there has been a period of way too much over complication that Michelin has been guilty of encouraging. So yes Michelin stars are important to guests, but be aware they can also put off guests.”

NO

Lyndsay Stanistreet-Tyer, managing director, Suites Hotel & Spa

 “I think that the likes of Michelin stars matter less and less to guests as we see the increasing influence of other tools of measurement including TripAdvisor and social media reviews taking hold. Those looking for a place to eat now understand that an authentic and enjoyable experience can be found without a fancy accreditation – and often at a much more accessible price point – and are looking to online review systems to help them make their decisions about where they’d like to spend their time and money.”

YES

Steve Smith, head chef, Bohemia Restaurant, The Club Hotel & Spa, Jersey

“Michelin stars really do matter to both us and our guests. We are incredibly proud to be the only restaurant in the Channel Islands to have a Michelin star, and customers visit Bohemia from around the world in order to sample our Michelin star cuisine. A Michelin star has a huge pull in terms of bringing guests to a restaurant, as they visit secure in the knowledge that they will be offered superb quality cuisine made with the finest ingredients. The Michelin Guide is an international guide which has the same criteria around the world be it New York or Singapore, therefore global guests know what to expect when visiting a Michelin star restaurant.”

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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