Between Assemblies, Bundles, and Modifiers there is a lot you can do. Typically one is better to use than another depending on your product, but mostly it will come down to what works best for your business.
In some cases, you can use all three!
Assemblies are perfect for combining or breaking down input products into a new output product. For example, baking muffins, mixing ingredients for a salsa, or assembling a product from its loose parts.
The input products are deducted from inventory at the time of creation, before the sale, so you know exactly how much of a particular input is remaining, even before you sell the finished product, or add it to a dish.
Bundles are used when you want the components of a product to be deducted at the time of sale (or checkout). For example, we have a food truck that sells chicken tacos and chicken nachos among other things. We use the same chicken for both and add them to the plate at the time of sale, so each would be bundled into our available chicken product.
This is ideal for products with components that are used in more than one product, are "made to order," or are used depending on the order.
Modifiers are used for add-ons at the time of sale. For example, a coffee shop might use them for additions to a drink, like syrup or the kind of milk the customer prefers. Or a burger restaurant that charges for additional premium toppings, like avocado and bacon.
Modifiers serve as a good reminder to the person taking the order to ask if they'd like to substitute a topping or have something left off completely. Modifiers are also helpful in Buy One, Get One, or Buy More, Save More deals.
Let's go through a use case where all three would be used.
Imagine we are running a coffee shop. We roast our own beans at our warehouse. From there, the coffee beans will go into either:
1 lb bags to be sold directly to customers at our retail locations and online
5 lb bags to be sold wholesale
5-gallon buckets to be sent to retail locations to be used in drinks
For this, we'll use three different Assemblies to take the roasted coffee beans and convert them into either the 1 lb bags, 5 lb bags, or 5-gallon buckets and our coffee bean inventory will reflect accordingly.
Once in the coffee shop, we'll Bundle the 5-gallon buckets of coffee beans into our coffee and espresso drinks. That way, each time one of those drinks is sold, Thrive can accurately deduct the quantity used in the drink.
Then we can customize the order with the following questions: Small, medium, or large? Hot or iced? Room for cream? Syrups? Whip cream? Add a shot of espresso?
Those can all be controlled and accounted for using Modifiers, whether or not it's information you want for the receipt, need to know for the offer, or if it costs extra. You can add multiple Modifiers to a product, so it's perfect for these situations.
Returns and re-stocks
Though there is a lot of flexibility with these functions, there are some differences when it comes to returns and how these items get restocked. For more general information on how Thrive handles returns and restocks, please check out this article.
For Assemblies, a returned and restocked item will result in an increase in the output product. The inputs will not be automatically increased, since the input and output quantities are only tied together when running the Assembly.
For example, let's imagine that someone returned a jar of pasta sauce that we used Assemblies to create. We won't be able to separate the sauce into its individual ingredients.
NOTE: If you do not need "disassemble" or "undo" an Assembly Run, please refer to this article.
For Bundles, since the components and the finished bundle is so closely tied together, both will be increased when a return is made and the product is restocked. The component/finished bundle quantities are directly tied together, so when either quantity is changed, it always affects the other.
Imagine a gift basket that is being returned. We could re-sell the gift basket to someone else, or it could be separated into its individual parts.
That idea won't work for all bundles though. Imagine someone returns a cheeseburger (bundle). We're not going to separate it and sell the individual parts, but then again, we probably wouldn't want to "restock" this item if it was returned.
For Modifiers, a return and restock will increase both the main product and the modifier by the restocked amount. Modifiers are typically optional add-ons that are recommended with certain products, so their return/restocks are more straightforward.
Things to Note:
Modifiers are only available for Clover and Square at this time.