The restaurant trade: extra fries with that?

Burders and chips Image copyright Thinkstock

It's December. First day of the Advent calendar. Shops have just had Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and now the delivery firms are facing a mighty logistical challenge.

It's now getting to the busiest, most lucrative time of year for restaurants as well.

Like the shops are realising, deep discounting may not be the way to go. The voucher and daily deals culture, which took off at the back end of last decade, accompanied by the financial crunch, has slowed to half of its peak.

That's according to Peter Backman, a restaurant industry analyst at Horizons consultancy in London. He was speaking to me for the latest edition of Business Scotland, on BBC Radio Scotland, all about the foodservice trade.

He observed that restaurateurs have shifted to more competitive pricing for main dishes, with margins made through selling the extras - a sauce on your steak, extra chips on the side and maybe some olives.

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Osborne and Swinney: balancing the books

George Osborne Image copyright Reuters
Image caption George Osborne's spending review has raised some interesting challenges for Holyrood

George Osborne says he aims to "fix the roof while the sun's shining". To help make the point, perhaps unwittingly, he's granted £5m to a refurb of the Burrell art gallery in Glasgow.

It has a very leaky roof, but this being November and the collection being in Glasgow, there's not much sun shining. Work is due to start early next year, lasting until 2019, at an estimated cost of £66m.

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A new shape to the state

George Osborne Image copyright PA

The season of mists and low-hanging fruitfulness is past. The autumn statement has a more wintry chill to it this year.

That is because it is accompanied by George Osborne's second spending review, setting out the path of public spending and departmental allocations until 2019-20.

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Rigging the frigates?

F35 Lightning II jet Image copyright PA
Image caption The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) reports that purchase of new F35 Lightning II jets is to be speeded up

Strike brigades. Lightning and Typhoon squadrons. Poseidon surveillance. Hunter Killer submarines.

There's more.....

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If you don't shop, retailers drop

Shopping trolley Image copyright Thinkstock

Sluggish, disappointing and rather pallid: three ways of describing Scotland's latest retail figures. And they were from the retail industry people trying to look on the bright side.

With inflation just into negative territory - that is, consumer prices have dropped over the past year - it's not a disaster for retailers to have flat takings.

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Scotland's jobs stagnation

Jobcentre Plus Image copyright PA

Is it only the trouble in the oil and gas sector that is weighing on the Scottish economy? Or do recent job figures suggest something else is going on?

The data covering July to September repeats recent trends, of very strong job creation across most of the UK, but much weaker in Scotland.

Read full article Scotland's jobs stagnation

The New Highlands at 50

Highlands and Islands Development Board office

What has government ever done for us? Or Europe? Or immigrants? All questions that stand a good chance of starting an argument. Except in at least one part of Scotland.

It's 50 years this month since six staff started work for the Highlands and Islands Development Board.

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Slowing Scotland and the productivity puzzle

Scottish money Image copyright PA

The penny-wise Scot may be a stereotype, but the reality behind it may be costing us some economic growth.

It's one of the explanations offered for the failure of lower energy prices to feed through to strengthened demand elsewhere.

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Forties at 40

Queen presses BP button Image copyright AP

In 63 and a bit years, the Queen's had a hand in much of the British economy; opening factories, bridges and the Border railway, launching ships, asking why no-one foresaw the financial crash, and adding her royal warrant to Deeside suppliers of Balmoral's comestibles and household sundries.

But the event that took her to Aberdeen 40 years ago was perhaps the most significant economic event in her reign.

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Steel yourself for an industrial strategy

Tata Steel plant in Motherwell Image copyright PA

There's a retro vibe afoot: the planned mothballing of two steel plants in Lanarkshire brings back the 1980s as if it were... well, 30 years ago.

Thousands upon thousands of local council jobs look like getting the axe due to the spending squeeze, yet 270 jobs rolling steel slabs get a task force, all hands are on deck to find a buyer, while the opposition calls for nationalisation.

Read full article Steel yourself for an industrial strategy