Starbucks' First Sign-Language Store In The US Was Inspired By An Outlet In Bangsar
Starbucks opened a deaf-friendly 'Signing Store' in Washington, DC on 23 October, the first of its kind in the United States
Unlike other branches in the US, this newly opened Starbucks in Washington, DC has a unique store format - customers must use sign language or written directions to make their orders.
Kyle Garcia, a deaf barista, told CNN that all staff members are fluent in American Sign Language and that it has been interesting to see the reactions of customers when ordering at the store.
"At the point of sale, people see [signing] immediately and sometimes stand there in awe. They're used to talking to people right away. It's a role reversal."
The store is also decorated by murals and coffee mugs designed by deaf creatives, a tablet where customers can choose to write down their orders instead of signing, and a screen that flashes a customer's name when their order is ready, Mashable SEA reported.
The inspiration for the Washington outlet?
Starbucks' first ever sign-language store located in Bangsar, which opened in 2016.
Following the success of the Bangsar Village II outlet, American Starbucks employees were sent to Malaysia to study it before formulating a plan to set up a similar front in the US.
When the company announced its plans in 2017, it said that a signing store would "promote accessibility and offer employment and career advancement opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing people," CNN reported.
As a gesture of appreciation, several employees from the Bangsar outlet were invited to the launch of the first US Signing Store in Seattle
"A team of Deaf Starbucks partners (employees) and allies led the effort to launch this unique store model in the US, which is located at 6th & H Street near Gallaudet University, a bustling hub that is well known as a Deaf-friendly community," the US Embassy of Kuala Lumpur wrote on their Facebook page.
Way to go to the Starbucks Bangsar team for being trailblazers and making Malaysia proud!