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Monthly Archives: October 2009

The Micros 9700 data extract for Food-Trak integration is a step in the Micros 9700 ETL process.  The core transformation extracts Micros 9700 transaction data from MCRSPOS database.  The individual sales transaction is identified in the totals table. The Food-Trak format required for the Micros 9700 interface must include the revenue center, the menu item master number, the menu item definition sequence number, and the menu item  price number. The transformation merges these dimensions with the transaction record from MCRSPOS.Totals.

Pentaho Data Integration transformation

Pentaho Data Integration transformation

The entire extraction and transformation is written with Pentaho Data Integration. Pentaho Data Integration is an open source Extraction, Transformation, and Loading application. Using the graphical user interface of Pentaho Data Integration allows rapid application development. It is relatively easy to customize the extract using simple SQL statements in the transformation table input objects.

A required step for  Micros 9700 and Food-Trak data integration is the creation of product records for each product sold. Each product record is attached to either a recipe or a purchased item in Food-Trak. The Micros 9700 Food-Trak interface requires the revenue center number, the menu item master number, the menu item definition sequence number, and the menu item price number. Creating product records is a very time consuming process and requires access to Micros 9700 EMC and a deep understand of the products sold.

My experience with my company is that our restaurants actually have several thousand products.  Remember from my last article that one of our requirements is fine granularity. Therefore, we can have several product records for one item. For example, a food menu item might have a regular price, a half off student price, and a late night menu price. A draft beer will have a double draft regular price, a double draft happy hour price, a double draft Monday Ladies’ night price, a double draft half off price, a pint regular price, a pint happy hour price, ….

We also have very dynamic menus. Each restaurant changes their menu at least seasonally. Seasonal dishes are offered with various themes or featuring fresh local food. New wines are offered monthly, new beers and liquors appear weekly. Our business strategy requires us to change our menu mixes often, while, of course, maintaining guest favorites. Our business strategy also requires us to manage our food and beverage assets at a very granular level. The Micros 9700 and Food-Trak interface is in a near constant state of flux. Thus, menu changes to Micros and Food-Trak product record updates are all handled by Corporate IT.

Especially at the beginning of the Micros 9700 Food-Trak data integration project, exception reporting is very useful. The Food-Trak Micros 9700 interface creates a results report. Exceptions are flagged <Not Found>. By copying and pasting this report into a text file, it can be merged with Micros data via Pentaho Data Integration. The transformation below reads in the results report and attaches the menu item name to record as well as appending a quantity column.

Food-Trak Micros 9700 data integration exception report

The Micros 9700 transformation is run automatically using Pentaho Data Integration Kettle application. The automated transformation saves a date stamp variable which is inserted into the SQL code of the table input object. A batch containing a one line kettle command is scheduled via Windows Task Scheduler.

My company owns several food and beverage services- restaurants, banquent and catering, concessions, and cafeterias. In order to control costs and manage assets, we implemented the Food-Trak Food and Beverage Management System. For my manufacturing friends, Food-Trak is the equivalent of Enterprise Resource Planning for the Food and Beverage Industry.  And while we think of Food-Trak this way, consider the thought that a restaurant is a manufacturing facility which manufactures product on demand and in real time.

Our goal as a company is to understand and manage our food and beverage assets to a very granular level. Thus, we (attempt) to count every fraction of an ounce of what is served. To this end, we must record every serving in our Point of Sales system(POS), Micros 9700 HMS, and feed these transactions into our Food and Beverage Management System, Food-Trak.

In operations the POS workstation must be programmed to capture the servings.  The challenges we faced were in the realm of modifiers- options, sides, condiments, add-ons, extras. Because of the complexity in programming modifiers and condiments and because of a few years of decentralized programming, many things were neglected. Operations had gotten used to messaging things, using Open transactions, and making assumptions. After a couple months of reconfiguring and testing, we were able to program the Micros 9700 system to capture transactions to the level required without hampering operations. In fact, the changes improved operations as servers had more automated choices presented in a logical way and the kitchen had to do less interpretation of orders, i.e better communications between front of house and the kitchen.

The bigger challenge was extracting the sales data from the Micros 9700 HMS. Organizations that want to integrate their Micros 9700 sales data into Food-Trak have 3 options-

  1. Contract with Micros to do it
  2. Contract with their Micros vendor to do it.
  3. Do it yourself.

Contracting with Micros or a vendor requires significant investment. If you are reading this because you want to integrate Micros 9700 sales data with Food-Trak data, and you have talked to your vendor, you know this is true. Also, Micros doesn’t provide the best customer support in the world. If you are a Micros customer, and not IHG, you know this is true.  Also, the interfaces I was able to review were nothing more than scripts written in SIMM, a proprietary Micros language. Ingenious? Yes. Practical and user friendly? Not at all.

Since I have been writing data extracts since the early 1990s, the decision to do it ourselves was a very easy decision for me to make, although it was met with a bit of skepticism from some of the decision makers. My first attempt was to extract data from the Netvupoint database. Easy right? Micros already has a built in data warehouse. All I had to do was extract the total sales from the Netvupoint tables. Well, during my validation testing, I discovered I couldn’t get to the granularity we required from Netvupoint. I had to dive into the transaction database.

I will save the details of my adventure within the transaction database for another time. When you hire me to setup your extracts, I will share the story with you over coffee! In a few weeks of focused effort, I was able to extract the transactions at the granular level we required and today have a hit rate of >98%. The exceptions are mostly open items and the rest are a data entry errors. I use an open source ETL called Pentaho Data Integration. The extract procedure is automated and has a graphical user interface. To aid in validation testing and monitoring of extracts, I have also created an ETL procedure that reads the exception reports from Food-Trak and matches the “Not Found” menu item number with its name entry in the menu item master table in Micros.

Because of our integration of Micros 9700 sales data and our Food-Trak production data, we are able to create industry standard sales analysis reports on demand and to an incredible depth. I would enjoy talking to you about this experience and look forward to helping you integrate your Micros 9700 sales data with Food-Trak.