Three Michelin stars is the most.
Updated: Feb 4, 2020
Three Michelin stars is the most a restaurant can get. Usually rating systems are out of five stars, but not this one; three stars is the most. This can cause mild confusion for those who are not accustomed to the Michelin man and his enterprises, chiefly among those: tires and restaurant ratings.
One could look up a restaurant on popular search engines using the World Wide Web and be presented with the fact that that particular restaurant has two Michelin stars. “Two out of five stars that’s a 40%, an F! No way we’re going there,” an uninitiated restaurant-goer might exclaim to their partner. However, this view is false, not only because the Michelin system does not give a rating out of five stars as our fictional protagonist earlier had assumed, but also because the Michelin system is not a rating at all!
Michelin stars are not ratings but are more similar to awards. Not every restaurant gets “rated” by a Michelin critic and receives up to three stars. No, even one Michelin star is a prestigious award and it is completely disingenuous to compare Michelin stars to a traditional system of stars where everything gets at least one star: a sign of low quality, and up to five stars: an endorsement of excellence. I assert that this five-star system is best rating system for things like restaurants, movies, music, books, and almost anything else that requires a subjective opinion.
There are others, however, who will argue for the 10-point rating system, with 10 being the best and 0 being the worst. Reviewers using this system will award a number, usually whole, but increasingly more are giving out ratings up to one decimal place. This system implies a granularity and precision that simply is not possible with something that relies on something that is as subjective as the reviewer’s taste. 10-Point System: 3.4/10
Many are fond of the Rotten Tomatoes percentage system — the Tomatometer — which gives a percentage based on what ratio of people thought that a particular movie is above average. I agree. This is a good system and is useful as a quick metric for the public opinion about a movie, but it’s not able to be used by reviewers because it is an aggregate rather a single rating, which reviewers need to give to their audience.mThe Tomatometer: 60%
Many reviewers use a grade system, giving a movie a grade between F, being the worst, and A+, being the best, with a grade of a C as the average. Proponents for the letter grade assert that it is a metric that anyone can easily understand thanks to the ubiquity of the letter grade in schools throughout the nation as well as compulsory education, which guarantees that most adults are familiar with the letter grade. While this system may have been good in the past, it is quickly becoming misleading and skewed due to an academic problem – grade inflation. Increasingly, students are seeing the C as a bad grade and grade averages in high schools and universities nationwide are well into the B’s. This system, where a C is the average grade, is starting to be more and more misleading through no failing of its own. Letter Grades: C+
I assert, once again, that rating using stars, between one and five, is the best way to understand a reviewer’s thoughts on the movie without being too granular but still providing enough depth to make an informed decision on the matter. The system is also iconic enough that showing three filled in stars and two empty stars is a surefire way to get even the most unsavvy restaurant-goer to understand that this reviewer thinks that a restaurant is average. Stars: ★★★★★