News & Views 2 minutes 24 April 2020

Gwendal Poullennec, International Director, MICHELIN Guides, addresses the restaurant community

Gwendal Poullennec announces the guide's Digital First strategy, featuring an unprecedented commitment by its inspectors.

"The health crisis we are going through affects us all: economically, culturally, intimately. It upsets our bearings, changes our lifestyles and leads us all to reflect on what the world will be like afterwards.

I am aware of the difficult times that restaurateurs and chefs around the world are facing right now. Many of you, and rightly so, are worried about your businesses, which are personal ventures in which you have thrown all your strength, your convictions and your commitment to. And despite that, many of you have developed creative and generous initiatives to help and support our medical teams and vital services. We know that and we are grateful.

The MICHELIN Guide international selection is spread in no less than 32 countries, with our local inspectors we fully appreciate the scope and the diversity of the crisis we are experiencing. In each country affected by the pandemic, our teams are fully committed to keep essential communication with the industry. Thanks to our teams in every region we will be able to make the appropriate decisions according to the local environment as the recovery takes shape.

But today what I would like to say is, wherever you are, whatever kind of restaurant you are running, with our local teams of inspectors we will work with you in any way we can to ensure that the situation gets back to normal as quickly, and as safely, as possible. We know that this route back to recovery will be a gradual one. But please, rest assured that we will be here for you every step of the way.

The heart of the MICHELIN Guide is to recommend restaurants, we are not critics. We’ve always wanted to find restaurants serving great food, to unearth new talent and to bring these restaurants to those who love eating out. That’s what we have always done, that’s what we will continue to do tomorrow taking into account the exceptional situation we are living in: during the recovery time, we will be flexible, sensible, respectful and realistic; we will be here to support, promote, publicise and encourage all of you.

And to be as efficient as possible in our mission to reconnect diners with your restaurants when reopening, as well as to achieve consistent and fair 2021 selections, we will make the most of our websites and digital facilities. Therefore, a Digital First strategy and an unprecedented commitment by our inspectors. Don’t worry, a Michelin Star, and all our award distinctions, will mean the same in 2021 as they always have.

In the coming weeks or months, we know the industry will face enormous challenges in getting back on its feet. But thanks to our history and local gastronomic scene knowledge, our daily exchanges with you and with our dining community, we are confident in the comeback. We know chefs will not lose their skills and customers will return along with our dedicated inspectors, no one will lose their desire for great food. Food has never been so present in our minds at this time.

Restaurants are the lifeblood of our cities, towns and villages, the beating heart of our communities so people will want to come back and we will help them to do so. During this time of crisis, I know that many customers have adapted to the situation and supported the love of eating out, just in a different way. And customers understand how important local issues are, I truly believe they will want to help in the recovery and a more sustainable food scene. 

I know your abilities and your creativity to adapt your businesses and I have every faith in your sensitivity to reach your clients expectations: you will take the best decisions for your restaurant. In any case, make sure that we will be with you, listening, sharing, cheering.

Thank you, we all hope to see you soon." 

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