Starbucks opened its first signing store in Kunitachi City, Tokyo, Japan, in June 2020. This location was chosen because of the area’s history as being part of the hard of hearing and the deaf community.
Japan’s Starbucks is the fifth store for the company situated globally.
The coffee shop is providing career opportunities for existing deaf and hard of hearing employees. Since 1996 Starbucks has been hiring hard of hearing employees, which has had an incredible impact on the communities.
The coffee shop celebrates deaf culture through its smart design tools and vibrant artwork to accommodate sign language. The Starbuck store represents infinite possibilities for all.
The interior adopts the color scheme and aesthetics of the Starbuck brands and smart features to provide an effortless experience for the hard of hearing customers. On ordering, customers have several options, including writing on a notepad, contactless speech-to-text voice recognition, or pointing to items on the menu.
They have creatively placed sign language above their usual Starbucks name in the store.
The interior is decorated with artwork by Hidehiko Kado, a child of deaf adults (CODA), consisting of bright colors and playful expressions, inviting customers to become immersed in the unique culture of signing.
Mozzeria, an Italian restaurant in San Francisco, has deaf owners and deaf staff members. A customer stated that the staff does a great job with pictures and lip-reading.
O.Noir, a restaurant in Canada, has a team of blind staff that serves French-Italian fare in total darkness, and they have surprise dishes to test patrons’ taste buds.
Hopefully, these places will help educate others about everyday challenges in the ASL community, and inspire other workforces to create jobs for the hard of hearing.