• Chris McMillan

Sound of silence speaks volumes as baristas serve up a treat

Sound of silence speaks volumes as baristas serve up a treat The hearing-impaired barista works with a mix of hearing and hearing-impaired staff. The staff members refer to each other as "partners", which reflects the close bond that helps them during peak rush hours.

Starbucks has a total of six signing stores worldwide, which are made up equally of hearing and hearing-impaired staff. Among them, two are in the Chinese mainland. The Starbucks Beijing Xitieying Wanda signing store, where Chen landed his job, opened in September and is the first of its kind in Beijing.

Tackle problems head-on

Cabinets groaning with mugs and canvas sacks display souvenirs printed with images of hand signs and gestures, while a low cakes-and-pastries display case makes way for communication between baristas and customers in sign language. Display screens with order details always face the customers, and portable tablet computers with built-in voice assistance provide the hearing-impaired baristas with ease in face-to-face communication.

Flanking the counter, the corner for activities is decked out with soundproof foam to safeguard a relatively quiet environment for the hearing-impaired baristas. a coffee master.



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