An employee able to communicate in sign language works the counter at Starbucks China’s first store with sign language capability in Guangzhou’s Yuexiu district, May 19, 2019. (Photo provided to

For hearing impaired customers at a Starbucks in Guangzhou’s Yuexiu district, ordering coffee can be much easier. Starbucks China on Sunday opened its first store with sign language capability in the city’s oldest downtown area to offer more possibilities to the deaf and hard of hearing community.

The store employs people with hearing challenges and provides equal training opportunities. All employees in the store are professional baristas and can communicate in sign language.

The store also is aimed at raising awareness and understanding of deaf and hearing impaired experiences in the workplace, according to Starbucks.  Starbucks employs over 100 people with special needs in China.

To nurture talent and create more opportunities for the deaf workforce, Starbucks has partnered with the Guangdong Deaf People Association to offer professional skills training and sign language courses.

“Diversity and inclusiveness is the general trend of community development. Thanks to Starbucks, deaf partners are empowered to develop their careers in a vibrant and supportive environment, while the store provides a strong platform to drive societal awareness around deaf culture and the needs of the community,” said Fan Yitao, vice-chairman of China Deaf People Association.

“We also hope that more social forces will join us in the future, and we will achieve equal employment in the future nationwide,” Fan added.