Starbucks opens cafe staffed by hearing-impaired baristas

Starbucks opened a hearing-impaired café in Binjiang district, Hangzhou, capital of East China’s Zhejiang province, on Dec 3, the International Day of Disabled Persons. It is the third café of its kind in China and the first in in China Hangzhou.

The café is staffed by employees who are partially or fully deaf and able to communicate in sign language.

“It’s important to help people with disabilities to get ahead,” said Tang Weiwei, manager of the café.

Tang has been working at Starbucks for five years and used to manage another Starbucks branch in Hangzhou before she voluntarily came to the hearing-impaired store.

“In the beginning, they (people with disabilities) taught me sign language and I taught them how to make coffee,” Tang said, “coffee and sign language are what bring the team together.”

Tang noted that the most important thing in getting along with hearing-impaired individuals is to be patient and caring.

The store has many sign language labels and barrier-free facilities. A billboard teaching simple sign language such as how to say “thank you” and “coffee” is featured prominently.

FYI:Starbucks Corporation is an American multinational chain of coffeehouses and roastery reserves headquartered in Seattle, Washington. As the world’s largest coffeehouse chain, Starbucks is seen to be the main representation of the United States’ second wave of coffee culture.

World-famous coffeehouse chain, Starbucks, accounted for 31,256 stores worldwide in 2019 – a figure that has almost doubled in the last decade. There were more international stores than those located in the company’s home nation of the U.S. – these figures amounted to 15,041 and 16,202, respectively.

Starbucks global expansion

Out of Starbucks’ U.S. based stores, over eight and a half thousand are company-operated, while the remainder are licensed. The Seattle-based company’s worldwide expansion has made it one of the most successful and well-known coffeehouse chains in history. Its store count isn’t the only thing that has grown over the years, so has the revenue. Starbucks recorded its highest ever revenue in 2019, having generated over 26 and a half billion U.S. dollars.

What Starbucks products do consumers like best?

The company’s central product being coffee, it comes as no surprise that the sale of beverages has been the number one source of revenue for Starbucks over the last decade. However, the coffeehouse chain also offers a broader range of beverages, including teas, hot chocolates, smoothies and iced drinks. Food sales have typically been the second largest contributor to Starbucks’ revenue in recent years.

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