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Modifiers and categories with Square for Restaurants

When creating items in your Square Dashboard, you have the ability to customise and group them in a few different ways.

Item Variations allow you to create multiple price points for a single item. For example, for a small coffee and a large coffee, the variations are ‘small’ and ‘large’.

Item Modifiers edit, modify or specify to the kitchen a change to a pre-existing item. Modifiers can also add to the cost of the item if necessary. For example: extra avocado for $0.75, no mushrooms.

Categories route items to your specific printer sations and control how your reporting appears.

Display Groups organise how items appear on your Square for Restaurants app.


Item variations are added to your items during the creation process and are best suited for sizes. Unlike item modifiers, which are usually used for food (toppings, add-ons or special requests), variants or price points will reduce your inventory count if you’ve enabled inventory management. Item modifiers won’t reduce inventory.

To learn more on how to create item variants, check out our Menu Management article.


If you need customisable options – toppings, add-ons or special requests – create item modifiers. Modifiers that are applied to items will display on your customers’ digital receipts, from Transactions in your online Dashboard and in the Item Details report. Keep in mind, you can choose to hide individual modifier sets from your customers’ receipts.

Unlike variations used for sizes, colours or SKUs, item modifiers don’t decrease inventory counts if inventory management is turned on.

For advanced inventory features, check out our partner integrations in the App Marketplace.

Create item modifiers online

  1. From Items in your online Square Dashboard, click Modifiers > Create Modifier Set.

  2. Enter the modifier information.

  3. The Modifier Set name is how your modifier set appears in your POS.

  4. Add New Options, these will be your individual modifiers.

  5. Select the locations where you’d like your modifier set to be available.

    • Customer can only select one option will make the modifier required, and only allow one option to be selected. This is best for modifiers like meat temperature, bread type for sandwiches, etc.

    • Conversational Modifiers will include the buttons ‘add’, ‘extra’, ‘side’, ‘sub’, ‘no’ and ‘allergy’ to your modifiers screen in your POS for faster order entry and improved reporting.

  6. Click Save.

From Items > Modifiers, you’ll see your modifier sets when creating and editing items. Click the box next to the modifier set to apply it to an item.

Apply Modifier Sets

You can also apply modifier sets from both the Items and Menus sections in your online Square Dashboard.

  1. From Items in your online Square Dashboard, click Modifiers.

  2. Select Apply to Items and choose any applicable items > confirm Apply to Items.

Keep in mind, you can choose whether you’d like modifier selections to appear on guest bills, as well as set a minimum and maximum number of modifiers allowed for each item.

  1. From Menus in your online Square Dashboard, click Add Modifiers.

  2. If the modifier set already exists, it will appear in the drop-down menu. If the modifier set does not exist, there will be an option to Create New.

Modifier progressions

Once a modifier is enabled, you can customise your modifier progressions. To customise, select Automatically Add Item to Bill for the item to be added after choosing the required modifiers. If this setting is disabled, the item will stay on the screen until selecting Add to Bill.

Modifiers will also appear on the screen in an auto-progression and print in the same order on the ticket. The auto-progression rules are as follows:

  1. Choose seat (if seating is enabled)

  2. Choose variation (e.g. small, medium, large)

  3. Modifiers

  4. Notes and options

  5. Add to bill

Modifier rules

  • Required modifiers: Modifier set will automatically appear when an item is selected.

  • No required modifiers: Modifier set will be available to add to an item, but will not automatically appear when an item is selected.

  • Maximum modifier limit: If required, the modifier set will stay on the screen until maximum number of selections are made. If not required, the modifier set will only allow selection of the maximum number of modifiers.

  • No maximum modifier limit: If required, the modifier set will stay on the screen until another selection is made or an item is added to the bill.

Note: Modifier sets progress in order of how many requirements/maximums are required – from the least number of requirements to the most. If multiple modifier sets have the same requirements, they’ll progress in alphanumeric order.

Mark Modifiers as sold out

You can mark modifiers as sold out/available from either the Square POS or Dashboard. The sold out/available state will be respected across your sales channels.

From your online Dashboard:

  1. Go to your item library and click Modifiers > Create Modifier Set.

  2. Toggle off Disable the Stock status of each modifier and click Save.

From the Restaurants app:

  1. Tap Account from the navigation bar at the bottom of your screen.

  2. Tap Items > Modifiers > Manage Modifier Availability.

  3. Toggle off Disable the Stock status of each modifier and click Save.

Note: 86’ing Modifiers will be extended to some 3rd-party integrations. Please check with your 3rd-party platform to ensure the modifier status is accurately reflected.


Categories simplify your item library and sales reports, and they give you control over what and when items are sent to certain printers.

To create a category:

  1. Log in to Categories from your online Square Dashboard.

  2. Click Create Category.

  3. Name your category (e.g. drinks, appetisers, entrees).

  4. Click Assign Items and tick the box next to each item you wish to include.

Once you have created your categories, you can begin to customise when and where items are sent.

Assign categories to printers

Once you’ve created your categories, you can assign them to be sent to individual printers. For example, all of your drinks can be sent to the bar printer, while all appetisers, entrees and desserts can be sent to your kitchen to make sure no tickets get lost in the shuffle of running your restaurant.

To assign your categories, you’ll need to head to your Square for Restaurants app:

  1. Log in to your Square for Restaurants POS app and tap Account on the bottom of your screen.

  2. Select Setup Hardware and select the printer station you’d like to assign categories to, or create a new printer station. On Square Register, select Utilities > Settings and scroll to Printers.

  3. Name your printer, for instance ‘Bar Printer’.

  4. Under Print From This Device, you can choose Receipt, Bills, and Reporting print options, as well as Order Tickets (tickets containing food & beverage orders) and Order Ticket Stubs (numbered tickets for Quick Service Restaurants)

  5. To assign Categories, you’ll need to toggle on Order Tickets and scroll down to select the Categories that you’d like to have sent to this printer.

  6. Click Save.

Keep in mind, you’ll need to have a printer connected to your device before you are able to create a printer station and assign categories.

Assign categories to Straight Away

You can automatically send items in specific categories to your kitchen or bar when you enable the Straight Fire Categories setting for your points of sale. For example, you can enable a Drinks category to send to the bar without coursing.

To enable:

  1. Head to your Square Dashboard > select Settings > Devices > Points of Sale from the navigation bar.

  2. Click Service Settings > Straight Away Categories.

  3. Select the applicable categories. Items in the selected categories will not be included as a course to either hold or fire since they’ll be sent straight away to prep stations.

Display groups

Display groups utilise colour, size and placement options to keep your menu items organised for easy access within the Restaurants app, but they’re not used in reporting.

To create a display group:

  1. Select the Apps Menu in the upper left corner and click Menus.

  2. Select the Add Display Group drop down and type in the name of your display group over the light grey Add Display Group and click enter.

  3. Choose the colour you’d like to be assigned to your Display Group.

  4. Click Save.

Once you’ve created your Display Group, it will appear on your Menu page and you can start adding items.

To add items to your Display Groups:

  1. Select Add Item from under your newly created Display Group.

  2. Scroll through the drop-down or type out the item name to select the correct item to your Display Group.

  3. If you need to edit or remove an item, click on the item name.

Learn more about getting started with Square for Restaurants. Check out the full comparison of features between Square for Restaurants Free, Plus and Premium plans.

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