Purpose: Using the lens of crisis innovation and strategic alignment, this study explores how a segment of the restaurant sector that may be less agile than others—Michelin-starred restaurants—perceives and aligns with the challenges brought about by the COVID-19-pandemic.

Design/methodology/approach: The study collected data from 19 Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain using a qualitative interview method. The data were analyzed qualitatively and organized thematically.

Findings: Four key categories of strategic challenges were identified: human resources, uncertainty, control and economic challenges. In response, chefs displayed both behavioral and organizational strategies. Those organizational strategies were new human resource management, reorganization, product and service innovation and marketing. While the new human resource management actions adopted to align with the human resource challenges identified, a misalignment remains between some of the other strategic actions, such as product and service innovation, marketing and economic and uncertainty challenges.

Originality/value: The findings offer new insight into Michelin-starred restaurant chefs' challenges and (mis)alignment strategies, an area that has been understudied in the current literature on innovative responses in the hospitality sector post-pandemic.


This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at: http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/.

Cite as

Gottardello, D. & Karabag, S. 2022, 'Crisis innovation: A study of Michelin-starred restaurants' strategic renewal and alignment', International Hospitality Review. https://doi.org/10.1108/IHR-03-2022-0010

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Last updated: 08 September 2022
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