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Starbucks Is Opening a Store With Deaf Baristas


Starbucks is set to open a new store in Malaysia dedicated to employing deaf baristas — a first for the global chain.

In partnership with The Society of Interpreters for the Deaf (SID), this store currently employs 10 baristas and three hearing staff members.

“We are proud to support people with disabilities through fulfilling work to create a culture of empowerment and to bring new perspectives to the workplace, which ultimately makes us a better company,” said Sydney Quays, managing director of Starbucks Malaysia. “We have a rich history of creating opportunities for underrepresented groups and our aim is to raise public awareness of the value people with disabilities bring to the workplace and to enrich the lives of many more Deaf partners.”

starbucks-hires-deaf-baristas-malaysiaImage: Starbucks

Starbucks will have two sign language interpreters to translate during hiring, training and coaching for the hearing-impaired. It will also teach sign language to hearing employees at the store.

If you don’t speak sign language, orders can be written on menu cards. Each customer will receive a number with their order, which will flash on a sign when the order is ready. Customers can double-check their orders on a screen to ensure accuracy.

The purpose of this unique store is to provide employment opportunities for those who may have a hearing disability. The store will also foster a welcoming environment for all customers, whether they are deaf or not.

Additionally, the infamous green aprons the baristas wear will be stitched with ‘Starbucks’ spelled out in sign language. There is also a sign near the entrance spelling out “Starbucks” in sign language, in addition to the traditional logo.

This new store is just the latest Starbucks initiative toward a better environment for employees and customers. Starbucks has launched other social good initiatives in the past, including a commitment to hire military veterans and the College Achievement Plan.