Celebrating its third anniversary, the world’s first Starbucks Signing Store located in Bangsar Village II is commemorating this milestone by showcasing the passion and growth of their Deaf partners, who have now achieved the certification of Advanced Coffee Masters, an achievement that further develops their barista skills and coffee knowledge.
“At Starbucks, we always endeavor to create a culture of diversity and inclusion. This was how the concept of the Signing Store came about more than three years ago by offering the Deaf and hard of hearing community in Malaysia with employment and career advancement opportunities. Today, we further recognize our Deaf partners (employees), who are also all certified Coffee Masters, with the progress they have achieved in completing their Advanced Coffee Master program. Our deaf partners have come so far in achieving this certification through hard work and determination,” said Rina Siew, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for Starbucks Malaysia and Brunei.
Leaning into growth opportunities at Starbucks, the Advanced Coffee Masters Program teaches qualified baristas new coffee mastery skills for different coffee equipment. Thus, the newly-certified Deaf Advanced Coffee Masters are able to brew coffee using the Pour Over method. In addition, these Deaf baristas are also qualified to conduct coffee chat sessions with the public using sign language much like the baristas at the Starbucks Reserve™ stores in Malaysia. Throughout these three years, the Starbucks Signing Store advocates continuous learning and development of each barista.
Given an equal opportunity as any Starbucks barista, the Signing Store partners have proved their confidence in working and handling a variety of brewing equipment professionally. This has further raised awareness about the Deaf culture at the workplace to surrounding communities. The Deaf baristas are making more than just a cup of coffee but also sharing the warm approach of Starbucks through their perspective. The Deaf Coffee Masters in Malaysia are distinguishable by their black aprons that feature a special embroidery with ‘Starbucks’ in Malaysian Sign Language.
Dedicated to empowering the hearing-impaired community throughout Malaysia, Starbucks Malaysia has announced plans to open the first Starbucks Signing Store in Penang. Mimicking the Starbucks Signing Store in Bangsar Village II, the Deaf baristas in the Penang Signing Store will get the opportunity to develop soft skills, such as work ethics, teamwork, and career attributes. The Penang Signing Store is scheduled to open by the end of this year.
The Pour Over brewing method is available at the Signing Store starting 25 July 2019 and customers can now experience a coffee signing session on a scheduled basis by Advanced Coffee Masters. Starbucks Malaysia has also launched a series of new exclusive Signing Store merchandise collection in conjunction with the 3rd-anniversary celebration. The merchandise is priced from RM25 onwards and is only available at the Starbucks Signing Store at Bangsar Village II.
A uniquely uplifting Starbucks Experience
Inside the Starbucks Signing Store, customers will be familiar with what they see and smell: the rich aroma of the finest Arabica coffee, served by partners in the iconic green aprons in a warm, bustling environment. But while Deaf partners engage with customers with the enthusiasm, passion and craft that they expect from Starbucks, they deliver the iconic Starbucks Experience in a uniquely uplifting way.
As customers place their order, they will notice something different, as the usual greeting and sound of baristas calling out beverage orders is replaced by sign language. Customers place orders using a simple menu card which they mark before passing it to the barista and Deaf partners use handwritten notes to communicate with customers. Upon placing the order, each customer is given a number on the receipt and once the beverage has been prepared, the number is displayed on a screen telling them it’s ready.
Strengthening Communities across Malaysia
Starbucks Malaysia has a proud history of employing under-represented groups in the workplace. This includes the launch of the Starbucks VIP Program three years ago to attract mature partners who are 55 years of age and above. As part of the program, Starbucks provides flexible work hours and other benefits for seniors. There are currently more than 10 VIP partners working in Starbucks Malaysia stores, the oldest being 79 years old.
For more information, please visit the Starbucks Malaysia website at www.starbucks.com.my.