Starbucks is opening its first sign language store in Japan this weekend

Jun 26 2020, 3:22 pm

Starbucks Japan will be opening its first sign language store for deaf and hard of hearing customers this weekend in Kunitachi, western Tokyo.

The company announced the opening in a tweet posted in Japanese explaining that sign language will be the “common language,” and that the store is set to start welcoming customers as of this Saturday, June 27.

“We aim to create a place where everybody can play an active role as a listener and a partner with hearing disabilities work together,” the tweet explains.

This location will be the fifth “signing store” around the world operated by the Seattle-based corporation, with the four other venues being in Malaysia, China, and the United States.

Customers will be required to adhere to a numbered ticket system when visiting this Starbucks store and will be able to check the status of their orders by accessing the website from the URL or QR code on their smart devices. They will be called once their order is available for pickup.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, dine-in service will not be provided, and orders are available for takeout only. However, this is subject to change.

The store also adheres to a strict set of health and hygiene protocols, including encouraging the usage of contactless payment methods, implementing hand sanitizing stations, requiring customers to wear facial coverings, and prohibiting the use of personal drink containers.

As well, while it specifically caters to members of the deaf and hard of hearing community, all customers are welcome at this Starbucks. There will be special menus and writing instruments for pointing to ensure that customers can communicate their orders regardless of if they speak sign language.