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Average number of seats at a Michelin three-star


Fat Guy
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Does anybody know the number of seats at the average Michelin three-star restaurant? On this topic Jon Tseng estimated 40. That sounds low to me. I'm thinking more in the neighborhood of 70, just based on unscientific, casual observations of the ones I've been to. Anybody have hard data per restaurant?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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For Germany, roughly as follows:

Dieter Müller - 65

Schwarzwaldstube - 35 / 40 (depending on source)

Vendôme - 40 (note: not sure if recent refurb has changed this).

Residenz Heinz Winkler - 80

Sonnora - 40

Victor's Gourmet-Restaurant - 34

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I was interested in the average size, as well as the standard deviations, because in the original topic I referenced the suggestion was made that an 80-seat restaurant was outside the norm and that the average was 40. So I was trying to see if, as an empirical matter, the average is closer to 40 or closer to 80.

Also, just a point of nomenclature: I'd suggest that covers and seats are not synonymous for the purposes of this discussion, because not all Michelin three-star restaurants are single-sitting restaurants. In New York City, for example, the Michelin three-star restaurants Per Se, Jean Georges and Le Bernardin all turn at least some of their tables. So Per Se could have 64 seats but do 96 covers in an evening.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Steven, Hi.....

According to a report by Union Banque Suisse in 2001, the average number of couverts in European restaurants earning three roses (they ain't stars no matter what one thinks) in Michelin was 56 and the range was from 38-122.

From notes I made, more than half of these restaurants required an average of 1.25 couverts at lunch and 1.4 in the evening in order to break even economically.

Sorry, I don't have the report on hand any longer and they've never replicated the data since.

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Original comment was meant to mean seats, not covers. Itend to elide the two terms together.

Forty is a number I've sort of had stuck in my head for a while; don't quite know where it came from. Though in retrospect that may be on the low side - I certainly wouldn't expect to see many restaurants of any stripe with fewer than 30 seats unless they are uber tiny Japanese places.

Seventy def sounds too high to me for an average. I certainly think there is a certain size (70-80 seats or above) where it is difficult to maintain *** quality. Two notable examples of this from London are:

- Tante Claire, which lost a star after it relocated from Royal Hospital Road to the Berkeley Hotel; part of the problem at the time was certainly the fact that it doubled the number of seats in the new premesis.

- Gordon Ramsay at Claridges, which ostensibly serves a similar menu to Royal Hospital Road, but never quite matches the quality level (rated * rather than ***) - again part of the issue (in my opinion) is that its simply a much larger number of settings.

J

PS I'm reasonably sure Gordon Ramsay doesn't have 75 seats. One of my bad habits is counting the number of seats at high end restos - at RHR I don't think I've ever got about 40-50. NB they do turn tables, however.

Edited by Jon Tseng (log)
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Jon, Hello....

When I use the words seats and couverts, I do use them interchangeably, much as in the French system - the couvert being literally the number of place settings at a table or in a restaurant and that obviously synonymous with the number of chairs. With that logic a restaurant can do an average of 1, 1.5 or 2 couverts per meal depending on the turnover and refilling of each. No change in the number of chairs is necessary.

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PS I'm reasonably sure Gordon Ramsay doesn't have 75 seats.  One of my bad habits is counting the number of seats at high end restos - at RHR I don't think I've ever got about 40-50.  NB they do turn tables, however.

Agree. Although the AA website says 70, it's definitely much less than that. Why would the restaurant say they have more seats than reality ? Another bit of GR PR ?

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  • 1 month later...

why would they want to say they have 70 covers when exclusivity would be more highly prized? Surely part of the hype is knowing you are in "good comapny" when you dine at one of these establishments? No one is going to be impressed with turning tables at a 3 * restaurant are they but we know it happens and i'm sure more than one egulleter has dined in a starred restauarant through their willingess to take a 6pm or 10:30pm sitting which is the whole point, there will always be someone willing to eat at that unearthly hour to have the experience that we might otherwise be denied.

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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