Starbucks Malaysia Opens Store Dedicated to Employing Deaf Partners (Employees)

Deaf partners serve customers a uniquely uplifting Starbucks Experience; store celebrates the contributions of Deaf partners and raises awareness of people with disabilities in the workplace.

Located in Bangsar Village II, a busy neighborhood shopping destination, the store is the first-of-a-kind for Starbucks globally and demonstrates Starbucks latest commitment to building a company where everyone is welcome, with inclusion at its core.

Starbucks worked in close partnership with The Society of Interpreters for the Deaf (S.I.D.) to facilitate the hiring, training and coaching of Deaf partners as they navigate the retail store environment and to teach Sign Language to hearing partners at the store. The company also is supporting a number of hearing partners at the company’s local Support Center to learn Malaysian Sign Language so they can communicate with and effectively train store partners and recruit new Deaf partners on an ongoing basis.

The store currently employs 10 Deaf partners, including a shift manager, and aims to increase employment of Deaf people across the country over time.

A uniquely uplifting Starbucks Experience

Inside the store, customers will be familiar with what they see and smell: the rich aroma of the finest Arabica coffee, served by partners in the iconic green aprons in a warm, bustling environment. But while Deaf partners engage with customers with the enthusiasm, passion and craft that they expect from Starbucks, they deliver the iconic Starbucks Experience in a uniquely uplifting way.

When customers go to order, they will notice something different, as the usual greeting and sound of baristas calling out beverage orders is replaced by sign language. Customers place orders using a simple menu card which they mark before passing it to the barista and Deaf partners use handwritten notes to communicate with customers. Upon placing the order, each customer is given a number on the receipt and once the beverage has been prepared, the number is displayed on a screen telling them it’s ready.