An evening meal at a high-quality restaurant is more than just a meal–it’s an experience, and the experience is often approached with very specific expectations. A restaurant is not just a place to satisfy hunger; it’s a social engagement, a form of entertainment and an opportunity to sample dishes more delicious than what we can create on our own.
Since a dinner at a high-quality restaurant should satisfy all of these requirements, the selection of a venue for the evening often involves a degree of commitment and investment. Before we walk through the door of such a restaurant, many of us would like to have some sense of what to expect before we commit to spending our money. This is where restaurant grading systems come into play.
The Influence of a Restaurant Grading System
The restaurant grading system and restaurant food ratings have a long history. Though on the surface they may seem like little more than subjective guides or simple recommendations, they often have the authority to launch or destroy dining establishments. A simple restaurant food rating may mean the difference between dismal failure and spectacular success for a business if the reviewer and the grading system are well established and respected in the industry.
Sometimes, an established restaurant grading system has so much power that it can inspire chefs or restaurant owners to invest countless dollars and years of passionate energy into the acquisition of single additional point or star on the rating scale. For some, this extra star on a restaurant food rating may represent a life’s work.
Quality of Food and Atmosphere
A major restaurant grading system like the Michelin, Zagat Survey®, Mobil, AAA, Gault Millau or Gayot can direct you to the best possible dining experience to suit your tastes and budget. With a good restaurant grading system, you can narrow down a wide field of options, lower the risk of taking friends and clients to new restaurants, and make decisions about new restaurants that have not yet generated word-of-mouth reviews.
The best guides direct us toward the restaurants that offer the highest quality of food prepared in the cleanest kitchens and presented in the most atmospheric venues.