Michelin Guide – The New Service Award

by Michael F. J. Clarke – CEO, Kingsmen Hospitality

There has been a lot of talk whether the Michelin Star Awards would be held this year. The upcoming awards, usually held in November, have brought a lot of questions asking into how many inspections took place during the lock-down and whether there has been substantial time to inspect all restaurants in question.

However, the Michelin Guide released a statement last week stating that the awards would still be given this year.

So what does it take to be awarded a Michelin Star?

Michelin keeps much of its approach under wraps, but does outline five main criteria for inclusion in the guide – quality of the products; mastery of flavor and cooking techniques; the personality of the chef in his cuisine; value for money; and consistency between visits.

Depending on the assessment, inspectors can award one star (“very good cooking in its category”), two stars (“excellent cooking, worth a detour”) or three stars (“exceptional cuisine, worthy of a special journey”). They also award “bib gourmands” for eateries which offer “good quality, good value cooking”.

According to Michelin, any restaurant can be recommended by its guide “as long as its food is of high quality”. This is where street food vendors such as Jai Fai are awarded their star for “very good cooking in its category”.

New Awards

Last week, The Michelin Guide announced its addition of 2 new awards: the Michelin Guide Young Chef Award, the Michelin Guide Service Award, and a new distinction, the Michelin green star, to the 2021 Michelin Guide Thailand’s portfolio of accolades.

The move demonstrates the Michelin Guide’s perspective for the entire restaurant ecosystem; while these new awards are believed to help elevate the standards of Thailand’s culinary industry on all fronts and levels, and – during these tough times – boost the morale of restaurant professionals, and encourage consumer patronage of local dining establishments.

Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of MICHELIN Guides, revealed: “Launching these two new awards and a new distinction shows that our recognition goes beyond the search for the best quality of food. Our inspectors are more than eager to train the spotlight on the talent and commitment of restaurant teams, who put all their passion and know-how to create unforgettable gastronomic experiences.”

Focus on Service

Service has always been a vital part of any restaurant ecosystem, and especially Michelin restaurants. However, some Michelin Restaurants I have been to over the years, have not provided me with service that I felt was on par with their food. I am paying a lot of money to visit these establishments, I know their food and labor costs are high, yet I expect to be treated exceptionally well and not only be taken through a culinary journey, but a whole experience – an experience that will stay with me for life.

The Service Award is something which I believe by high time is included in the Michelin Awards.

The Importance of Service

Great service makes customers feel that you care about developing a long-term relationship that means more than just making a sale. For restauranteurs, learning how to constantly innovate to meet increasingly high expectations and provide good service is one thing they must not forget. The customer should be at the center and services should be designed around them.

Taking care of staff and training them is therefore a must in every restaurant. These employees are the ones interacting and providing service to the customer. Celebrating positive initiatives taken by any staff in this regard, communicating and sharing information on a consistent basis, empowering personnel, fostering wellness and paying attention to intuition are just a few of the small but critical items necessary for hospitality staff to produce the kind of guest and customer service ethic that will impress customers.

The restaurants that recognize the benefits of good service are able of winning and retaining customers. Customers who experience good service stay loyal to the restaurant, more so than those who have bad experiences, thus developing the best, most well-equipped front-line workforce is critical to success.


If you would like to talk about how Kingsmen Hospitality can help you with improving your service levels of your restaurant, which will have a drastic improvement on your top and bottom line, write to me on [email protected] or call me on +66 (0) 94 323 7428