Starbucks has opened a new location in Japan where the entire staff is fluent in sign language. The Starbucks Signing Store, located in Tokyo’s Kunitachi neighborhood where there’s a high hearing impaired population, will be the fifth of its kind to offer more inclusive service to its clientele.
The store will have 19 hearing-impaired employees. They’ll be completely equipped to support deaf customers, creating a more diverse and welcoming shopping experience. “Starbucks has been hiring deaf and hard of hearing partners (employees) since we entered Japan in 1996, and these partners have made incredible impacts in their communities. Inspired by their passion, we created this store as a place of belonging, where our partners and customers can stay true to who they are and be inspired. This store truly represents infinite possibilities for all,” said Takafumi Minaguchi, the CEO of Starbucks Coffee Japan in their press release.
Kunitachi’s Starbucks Signing Store opened on June 27. They were immediately open for business with their deaf and hard of hearing customers, offering them a welcoming and stress-free place to get their morning brew. How cool is that?
Because of the current pandemic, it’s takeout only at the moment. Customers will be given tickets with a number on it to avoid overcrowding in the store. Unfortunately, there will be no sit-in service at the moment and customers will have to take their drinks to go.
While sign language is this Starbucks location’s specialty, it’s open to everyone. There will be a special menu sheet, writing instruments, and signs available for customers who don’t speak customer service. This will allow everyone to communicate effectively and for the business to run more smoothly.
Even the Starbucks sign has sign language on it. Each letter of the store’s name has the correlating sign language letter there beside it, which looks amazing and lets hard of hearing customers know that this is a sign language-friendly cafe. Well done on making locations more accessible, Starbucks!
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