Starbucks to open first Deaf-friendly cafe in the U.S.

Starbucks to open first Deaf-friendly cafe in the U.S.

Starbucks recently announced the opening of its first Deaf-friendly store in Washington, D.C. in the U.S. this October. The store is part of plans to promote accessibility and offer employment and career advancement opportunities for Deaf and hard of hearing people.


Also Read: Deaf Couple Intends to Change Restaurant Culture With Their Pizzeria


Creating Opportunities with the Deaf Community

As part of their efforts to raise awareness and understanding of the Deaf in the workforce, Starbucks will hire at most twenty-five Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing partners from across the U.S. A variety of enhancements that promote not just customer experience, but more importantly support the Deaf and hard of hearing partners, will also be made.


Deaf baristas will have American Sign Language (ASL) aprons embroidered by a Deaf supplier, and hearing partners who sign will have an “I Sign” pin.  The store will also feature exclusive artworks by a Deaf artist.


ASL aprons. (Photo from Starbucks Newsroom)


Also Read: The restaurant staffed entirely by differently-abled people


To also promote inclusivity in public places, the Signing Store will incorporate aspects of Deaf Space, including an open environment for communication and low glare reflective surfaces. For customers new to sign language, the store will offer communication options for ordering and receiving beverages at the hand-off counter.


First-of-its-kind U.S. Signing Store

The idea to open a Signing Store in the U.S. was inspired by a similar Starbucks Signing Store in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Starbucks partners in the U.S. traveled to Malaysia last July to understand design modifications and gain knowledge to create the best possible store experience for Deaf and hard of hearing customers in the U.S.


To learn more, visit


Text by Aizel Dolom.
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