TOKYO: Starbucks Coffee Japan Ltd. will open its first "signing store" staffed mainly by hearing-impaired employees in Kunitachi, western Tokyo, on Saturday.
The move is part of the global coffee chain's efforts to promote diversity, according to an announcement made Wednesday by the Tokyo-based company under the wing of Starbucks Corp. of the United States.
At the store, staff will communicate with customers mainly in sign language, writing and by pointing. Starbucks Coffee Japan hopes that the store will give customers opportunities to feel more familiar with sign language and other means of communication.
Menus to order by pointing and monitors to display spoken words will be introduced at the store, where 19 of the 25 staff members are hearing-impaired.
The Kunitachi store will welcome customers with illustrations of finger signs and greetings in sign language.
The Starbucks group operates four signing stores in other parts of the world, including Malaysia.
Such stores are expected to allow hearing-impaired workers to perform at their full potential because they can work with less concern about the difference between them and people without hearing disability, group officials said.