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Modifiers and Categories with Square for Restaurants

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

Item Variations allow you to create multiple price points for a single item. For example: 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.

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

Display Groups organize 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 will not reduce inventory.

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


If you need customizable options (toppings, add-ons or special requests), create item modifiers. Modifiers applied to items will display on your customers’ digital receipts, from the Transactions tab 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.

Create Item Modifiers Online

  1. From the Items tab 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 will 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.

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 third-party integrations. Please check with your third-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, Appetizers, Entrées).

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

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

Assign Categories to Printers

Once you’ve created your categories, you can route them to separate printers. For example, all of your drinks can be sent to a bar printer, while all appetizers, mains 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 at the bottom of your screen. On Square Register, select Utilities > Settings and scroll to Printers. 

  2. Select Set Up Hardware and select the printer station you’d like to assign categories to.

  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 and beverage orders) and Order Ticket Stubs (numbered tickets for Fast Food 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 Fire

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 Fire 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 the back of house.

Display Groups

Display groups utilize colour, size and placement options to keep your menu items organized 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 hit 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 the 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 for 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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