Starbucks Signing Store
Berjaya Starbucks Coffee Company Sdn Bhd
The Starbucks Signing store project aims to enhance the livelihood of the Deaf community by not only providing a job opportunity to the Deaf community, but also to ensure that our Deaf partners (employees) are fully trained and empowered.
INTRODUCTIONFrom the very beginning, Starbucks has set itself out to be a different kind of company. Aside from achieving extraordinary coffee experiences, Starbucks has made a business out of human connections, community involvement and the celebration of diversity. It is the inclusion of diverse experiences and perspectives that help create a culture of empowerment at Starbucks. Our mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
The Starbucks Signing store project aims to enhance the livelihood of the Deaf community by providing them a job opportunity that cultivates a culture of empowerment and provides training and development of their soft-skills. This helps the Deaf to develop their self-confidence, self-esteem and self-reliance through discovery and experiences that gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment to move forward in their career, and to lead a functional and fulfilling life.
FRAMEWORK AND STRATEGYEver since the opening of the 1st Starbucks Signing store in the world on 20th July 2016 at Bangsar Village ll Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, our Deaf partners have been serving the perfect cup of handcrafted Starbucks beverage to every single customer with passion. The Starbucks Signing Store celebrates the contributions of our Deaf partners and raises awareness of people with disabilities in the workplace.
To ensure the success and sustainability of this project, we strategize by collaborating with The Society of Interpreters for the Deaf, more often known by its acronym S.I.D., which is a registered non-profit and non-governmental voluntary organization founded in 1990.
S.I.D would advise us about the Deaf Culture and assist us by conducting sign languages courses for our hearing partners from the store and various departments who are required to communicate frequently with the Deaf – this is to ensure communication between hearing and Deaf partners are smooth.
In collaboration with S.I.D, we also hosted the Starbucks Outreach Community Program that aim to provide a fun learning environment to the public and the Deaf community. It comprises of three workshops – Signing (for the public to learn sign language); Personal and Professional Development (for the Deaf community); and Deaf Empowerment and Awareness for Youth (for the Deaf youth and students from special school).
We invite representative from local authorities, non-governmental organizations and other related bodies to conduct workshops and help the Deaf to develop their soft skills, provide safety tips, and prepare them for employment. Our customers also participated, enabling them to communicate and understand the Deaf which we target to benefit 840 people in a year.
ACHIEVEMENT AND IMPACTSince the opening of the Starbucks Signing Store, the Deaf partners have received multiple encouraging compliments worldwide through social media. The success story was also widely shared by local and international media. Many customers wrote-in to share their positive experiences with the Deaf partners and the signing store. Since the opening of the Starbucks Signing Store, we have successfully promoted our Deaf partner, Aizad to a Shift Manager.
In addition, overall Customer Voice (CV) has shown an increase of +34% from a random customer survey in the month that it was first opened. From this, we can see the strong support by our customers and the community on this initiative. This also shows that the supporting communication in stores has helped to reduce challenges for our Deaf partners with Deaf and Hearing customers.
The Starbucks Signing Store itself has also become a highlight for not only Deaf tourists, but hearing ones as well, as a place where the Deaf community gather. It has also become a success key model for our Starbucks International counterparts, who has recognized the sustainability of the Signing Store and brought in their own teams to visit and learn about the successes of the signing store and how they can incorporate the same model in their own countries.
Our collaborative partner, S.I.D, also received tremendous amount of awareness since the partnership and were able to win the Social Entrepreneurship Amplify Awards by The Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC), as part of the local government’s effort to raise awareness and support social entrepreneurship in Malaysia.
FUTURE DIRECTIONThe focus for Starbucks is sustainability – All Starbucks Malaysia projects continue to be on-going and will continue to help the various people and communities in which we have helped. Currently, Starbucks Malaysia plans to train more hearing partners to Sign and to prepare for the next level of the project, which is the opening of a second signing store in Malaysia, as well as a possible career opportunity within the Starbucks Support Center (HQ) soon.
Starbucks® in Malaysia is operated by Berjaya Starbucks Coffee Company Sdn Bhd, a licensee of Starbucks Coffee International. From the opening of the first store in Kuala Lumpur on 17 December 1998, we have expanded to Sabah and Sarawak and surpassed 260 stores milestone in May 2018. Now close to our 20th year in operation, Starbucks has grown not only to become the favorite coffee place for Malaysians, but also a productive member of communities across the country.