The guide, due to be launched in the third week of January 2012, will now be released on 6 October 2011.
Michelin said the change to the current January release, in operation since 1974, had been done to bring the British and Irish edition of the guide into line with all other Michelin country and city guides – with the exception of France.
Although the guide will now be able to catch the Christmas market, the change has meant that many restaurants have been forced to return information sheets early to meet the publication date and others are concerned that its usually positive impact on business may be affected.
"If you get a Michelin star in January then you're bound to have a good February and March which is a benefit for it coming out then," said Charles Lakin, head chef at The Marquis in Alkham, Kent and owner of a Rising Star for the past two years. "Hearing results in January is great for business, because it's the quietest part of the year. I don't know what the impact will be if it comes out in October."
However, Laurie Gear, chef and owner of The Artichoke in Old Amersham, Buckinghamshire, said it was a sensible idea to release it at a similar time of the year to other guides, such as The Good Food Guide, Harden's and the AA Restaurant Guide.
"As well as dealing with Michelin stars, Michelin is a business so it makes sense to get in with the Christmas rush. We’ve worked hard this year and along with everyone else it will be an exciting time. At least we’ll all know a bit earlier what the results are," he said.
The guide’s new editor Rebecca Burr thanked establishments for their ‘swift response’. “Although compiled for our readers, this change of publication date has only been made possible by the establishments returning their information sheets to us earlier than normal,” she said.
The Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland celebrates its centenary this year. The 2011 edition of the Guide, released on 19 January, saw 14 new restaurants gain stars and 26 gain Bib Gourmands.
The previous two years saw results leaked onto the internet several days before the official publication date, forcing Michelin to release the guide earlier than planned.