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Six reasons why Restaurant Week failed

Posted by Kara Baskin  February 3, 2014 10:00 AM

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Restaurant Week is now Dine Out Boston (read all about it here). In a nutshell, Restaurant Week was drawing complaints from diners and chefs for a few reasons:

1. Prices were too high (why pay $30-plus for dinner at a restaurant that normally charges $20?).

2. Menus were limited (many restaurants offered ho-hum set menus without their more expensive signature dishes).

3. Higher-end restaurants found themselves losing money with the price restrictions, forced to undercharge for certain ingredients.

4. Often, diners were only allowed to order three courses. Three courses for $30-something can be divine, but only if you can choose what you want to eat.

5. The promotional meals weren't generating return business. In general, people going out to a high-end restaurant for Restaurant Week, prowling for a bargain, aren't going to return time and again — especially if the meals they're eating during RW don't represent the restaurant's true spirit.

6. Discount sites like Groupon made Restaurant Week, which launched in 2001, obsolete.

With this in mind, Dine Out Boston will try a different recipe for success: New organizers have rebranded it with versatile pricing formats and more menu options. The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau — which runs the promotion — said there will be a range of prices for the two-week event, scheduled for March 16 to 21 and 23 to 28. Have dinner for $28, $33, or $38, or try lunch for $15, $20, or $25. Unlike before, there will be no requirements for the number of courses.

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What do you think? Will it work? Will you give Dine Out Boston a try?

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