At first glance, our store in the Bangsar Village II shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, seems like any other in the region. But when you reach the counter, you’ll notice something distinctive: Instead of calling out beverage orders, baristas use sign language.
In July 2016, as part of our commitment to disability inclusion, we opened our first store dedicated to providing employment opportunities for Deaf partners. For those who needed it, sign language interpreters translated during hiring, training and coaching; they also taught sign language to the store’s hearing partners.
The location operates with its diverse staff and clientele in mind. Customers place orders via tickets, baristas key them into the point-of-sale system and customers verify them on screen. Guests know their order is up when they see their number appear on a screen above the pick-up counter.
More signing stores have opened in the United States, China and Japan. The stores might be unique, but their vibe is pure Starbucks. Warm and welcoming, it’s a third place for everyone.