Variants vs. Modifiers

Additional details on the difference between the two, and when each could be used.

Chris avatar
Written by Chris
Updated over a week ago

Variants and Modifiers can be extremely helpful for getting your inventory on track and also to make tracking your inventory easier than ever! As you’ll see, many examples could either be Variants or Modifiers, so it really will depend on what works best for you and your business.


For starters, a Variant makes it easier to sell items that are offered in different variations. An example could be the sizes of a T-shirt, sizes of a cup of coffee or Potato Chips as laid out here:

Product: Potato Chips

Variant: Classic

Variant: BBQ

Variant: Sea Salt & Vinegar — etc…

Variants are useful because:

  • Each one can have its own price, cost, barcode, SKU, Par & Reorder quantities.

  • Their quantities can be updated independently and show up as their own item on Reports.

  • They can be rung up by scanning a barcode.

  • Other examples of Variants could be soda varieties, dress sizes or ice cream flavors.


Modifiers are especially great for restaurants, bars or anywhere customization or modification is an option for customers.

For example, anytime a customer wants extra cheese on their burger, an extra shot in their rum & coke, coconut milk in their coffee instead of whole milk, or rainbow sprinkles on ice cream those are perfect scenarios for Modifiers.

Another way to think about it is that modifiers make life easier for the person actually ringing up a customer, preparing the final product, and ensuring that the customer gets exactly what they wanted!

Modifiers are ideal for:

  • Giving the customer a set of options.

  • Accurately calculating additions and adding to the total price of a product.

  • Deducting the proper amount of inventory.

  • Making customers happy, by offering adaptable options and easily translating custom orders.

  • Other examples include any time you want to do a Buy One, Get One offer or Buy More, Save More deal.

Use cases for both

A simple example of when you could use either option would be a Latte and different milk options. With Variants, you could set up all the different options like so:

Product: Latte

Variant: Whole Milk (Latte)

Variant: 2% (Latte)

Variant: Skim (Latte)

Variant: Almond (Latte)

Variant: Coconut (Latte)

For Modifiers, you would already have the Latte (product) and then necessitate a single modifier. Your Modifier Group could be entitled “Latte Milk Options” with all those options (Whole Milk, 2%, Skim, etc.) acting as your Modifiers!

As you can see, how you set up your Variants and Modifiers really depends on what makes the most sense for your business, but the tools are all here!

Things to Note:

  • Modifiers are supported support in Thrive for Square and Clover users.

  • Each Clover plan either supports variants or modifiers. Check which plan you are on to see what is supported.

  • Modifiers should not be used to create recipes or kits, instead, you can do that with bundles.

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