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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 help keep your inventory on track and make tracking your inventory simple.

As you’ll see, many examples could be variants or Modifiers, so it will depend on what works best for you and your business.


For starters, a variant makes selling items offered in different variations easier. 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 appear as their own item on Reports.

  • They can be rung up by scanning a barcode.

  • Other variants include soda varieties, differing sizes, flavors, etc.


Modifiers are especially great for restaurants, bars, and 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)

With Modifiers, you would create the Latte product and then add a Modifier. Your Modifier Group would be titled “Latte Milk Options,” with all those options (Whole Milk, 2%, Skim, etc.) acting as your Modifiers.

As you can see, setting up your Variants and Modifiers 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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