A Starbucks store in Malaysia has become the first in the global coffee chain to focus on providing employment opportunities for deaf people.
A Starbucks store in Malaysia has become the first in the global coffee chain to focus on providing employment opportunities for those who are deaf and hard of hearing.
The store in Kuala Lumpur, which opened Wednesday, results from a partnership between Starbucks Malaysia and The Society of Interpreters for the Deaf, the company said.
The society provided Starbucks with two sign-language interpreters during hiring, training and coaching for deaf employees, and to teach sign language to hearing employees, according to a Starbucks news release.
The store employs 10 deaf employees and three hearing ones, including the store manager.
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“This is an underrepresented community in Malaysia,” a Starbucks spokeswoman said. “Over the years, the team has worked with local organizations to hire deaf partners [employees] and we wanted to celebrate and recognize the contributions of deaf workers and people of all disabilities.”
Customers place their orders by filling out a menu ticket that they hand to the baristas. The baristas then key in the orders on a dual-screen system where customers can see if their order is correct. The order number is displayed on a large screen above the pickup counter when it’s ready.
The store also has a Starbucks Card kiosk where customers can check their card balances and reward-program points.
Starbucks currently has no plans to replicate this model beyond the Malaysia store, the spokeswoman said.