Lifestyle

A different course for struggling Restaurant Week

Chef Daniel Bruce of The Boston Harbor Hotel welcomed the changes.
Chef Daniel Bruce of The Boston Harbor Hotel welcomed the changes.Credit: Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

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You can stick a fork in Restaurant Week.

After several years of declining participation and escalating complaints, the long-running Boston culinary event — which featured noted chefs serving up three-course meals at reasonable fixed prices — had become as stale as a day-old dinner roll.

Now organizers hope to whet appetites by rebranding Restaurant Week as Dine Out Boston and addressing a major issue restaurateurs had with the format: High-end establishments said the promotion’s one-price-fits-all rule made it difficult to offer signature dishes without losing money, while less expensive restaurants balked at the mandated $38 dinner tab. And many said the promotional meals were not generating the return business they expected.

“Restaurant Week was a terrible flop for us,” said Jeffrey Gates, a partner in the Aquitaine Group, whose roster of restaurants includes Aquitaine Bar a Vin Bistrot and Gaslight Brasserie du Coin. “It’s a great way to expose our restaurants to diners. I just felt that we lost track of value for the consumer.”

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