Michelin, the tire company perhaps better known for its star-based restaurant rating system, has announced it’s acquired a 40-percent stake in fellow France-based dining guide Le Fooding. In a move to reach a broader (and, perhaps, younger) audience, Michelin, which publishes restaurant guides to dozens of cities worldwide with the help of anonymous restaurant “inspectors,” is buying into Parisian Le Fooding’s “quirky” approach to gastronomy.
Le Fooding launched in 2000 as an alternative to fine-dining guides like Michelin and its competitor the World’s 50 Best. The guide offers restaurant and hotel recommendations in both print and online and, when it launched, made a point to include options at lower price points than the established guides at the time. Now best known for identifying food trends and up-and-coming chefs in Paris, Le Fooding had a brief presence in the U.S. in 2013 and 2014 with Le Grand Fooding events in New York and Los Angeles.
Le Fooding founders Alexandre Cammas and Marine Bidaud remain the majority stakeholders. In a press release, Cammas said the partnership with Michelin would help Le Fooding expand to other major French and foreign cities. According to Alexandre Taisne, Michelin Group’s gastronomic and tourist activities director, Michelin’s alliance with the younger dining guide will “enable [its] customers to benefit from more efficient offers and services to find the right table according to their desires and their budget.”
This isn’t the first time Michelin has expanded its reach through acquisitions. In July, Michelin took on a 40-percent stake in wine guide Robert Parker Wine Advocate, and last year, Michelin acquired UK reservation booking site Bookatable — now called Bookatable by Michelin — becoming the leader in Europe’s online reservation market.
Michelin notes that its partnership with Le Fooding will have no impact on Michelin stars. Cammas and Bidaud will continue to control Le Fooding but will work closely with Michelin Experiences on events and special offers.