A decade after the Michelin brothers started selling tires, they introduced the first Michelin Guide, a comprehensive booklet that served as a powerful resource for France's early road travelers. It contained information on hotels, gas stations and, eventually, restaurants. A three-star rating system developed, and it's carried on to today, becoming a very, very prestigious award for restaurateurs.
Business Insider has a brief but comprehensive history of the so-called Michelin stars and the current state of the Michelin Guide and its role across the globe. Whether you're a fan of tasty food, Gordon Ramsay or just travel in general, the story is worth a read.