Variants vs modifier sets - Optimizing Square for your Cafe



When optimising your menu items in Square, variants and modifiers play a large part in the optimization of the experience for both employees and customers, but when is it appropriate to use variants, when should a modifier set be used, and when are they most optimal working hand in hand?

Variant vs Modifiers - Whats the difference?

In Square, the functionality of variants differs to modifiers that make them perfect for different products, or incredibly useful together. Some of the differences are: 

  • Unlike modifiers, only one variant can be chosen per product, making variants the perfect option for retail items, and products that differ in size, or items with any options that shouldnt stack. On top of this, Variants can be tracked with a unique SKU.
  • Unlike variants, modifiers are stackable, making it the perfect choice for products that have options that need to stack together, which in a Cafe setting is usually many different food and drink items.
  • Variants can offer different set price points for items depending on the variant selected, example being a small meal being cheaper than a regular meal.
  •  With modifiers you have the ability to add or subtract from the set price of the item, example being a burger that contains cheese, you could remove the cheese, make the burger lactose free, and take fifty cents off the total order price, but then have the customer decide to add avocado to their burger, increasing the price by a dollar.
  • Variants can not quickly be applied to many different items, and must be manually created for every new item.
  • Modifiers are bundled into modifier sets, and can quickly be applied to many different items at once.



Now we have established the difference, in what setting are they appropriate, and how are they best used together?

Variants - Variants are useful when creating items that have options such as temperature and size. e.g. coffees come in small, regular and large. This is ideal as it helps you track the number of takeaway cups, and track when they are low.

Modifiers - Modifiers are best used for food items that have multiple options, e.g. Egg toast, which has different bread options, and different egg options.

Used together - A good example of modifiers and variants being used together, would be in the case of a Burger meal. The meals comes in small, medium, and large, which would all be listed as different variants with set prices. If for example, the customer wanted to take cheese from their burger, and add avocado, this would be best done through modifiers. Another example is a flat white, with different size options, that also as has the options for an added shot, shots of syrup, and different kinds of milk.

Hopefully you have gained from this article the knowledge to customise your menu items in Square in the most optimal way, using both variants and modifiers where appropriate and most effective to assist in the flow of orders.

Thanks for reading =P

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <p>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Use [gist:#####] where ##### is your gist number to embed the gist
    You may also include a specific file within a multi-file gist with [gist:####:my_file].

Spread the word