Michelin's activities date back to 1900 when founder Andrť Michelin January 1 1853 - April 4 1931 first published a restaurant guide to help wealthy, gastronomically-oriented individuals choose restaurants while travelling. He later co-established a tyre-making factory.
Michelin is the oldest and best-known European restaurant guide. Its restaurant ratings (one to three Michelin stars) are probably the most famous and influential gastronomic ratings in the world. The guide lists restaurants in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the UK.
Michelin stars are taken very seriously in the restaurant business, where the addition or loss of a star can mean a difference in turnover of millions of euros. In February, 2003, a prominent French chef, Bernard Loiseau, committed suicide when his widely-admired restaurant CŰte d'Or in Saulieu, Burgundy, was downgraded by Michelin from three to two stars.
See also: List of French companies