COMMUNITY | Staff Reporter, Korea

Starbucks opens ‘inclusive' store in South Korea

Half of the location’s staff are persons with disabilities.

Starbucks announced the opening of an ‘inclusive’ store in South Korea, aimed to expand career opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Located at Seoul National University Dental Hospital (SNUDH), the coffee giant says half of the staff are persons with disabilities, and hold positions at nearly every level. In partnership with Korea Employment Promotion Agency for the Disabled (KEPAD), partners all receive customized training and development, including basic expressions in Korean Sign Language.

“Opening a store focused on inclusive design marks an important moment for Starbucks in South Korea and around the world,” said David Song, CEO, Starbucks Coffee Korea. “We are excited to have this opportunity to bring Starbucks Mission and values to life in our community and expand opportunities for our partners to develop their careers at Starbucks.”

Starbucks describes the store’s design to be a “warm and inclusive space for people with a wide range of disabilities, from customers to partners.”

Staff are equipped with digital tablets to facilitate communication with customers, and the store floor, back room and bar have all been designed with additional space for comfortable wheelchair access—a first-of-its kind for Starbucks globally.

Starbucks says members of the disability community helped test the store’s unique bar to better optimize the space for partners using mobility aids like wheelchairs.

“The new store represents our enduring commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in every market we serve,” said Sara Trilling, president, Starbucks Asia Pacific. “We understand we are still early in our journey, and will continue to learn and expand our design principles.”

Mobile ordering and payment expanded in Japan
Over in Japan, Starbucks announced the expansion of mobile order & pay to all company-operated stores across the country starting in December.

First launched at select stores in Tokyo in June 2019, the ability for customers to order and pay through their Starbucks mobile app has expanded to include take-out and dine-in, and will be gradually rolled out to 300 drive-thru locations beginning this month.

Accessories collection done in partnership with Kate Spade New York
Starbucks also teamed with fashion design house Kate Spade New York to launch a merchandise collection in Asia.

The Starbucks x Kate Spade collection is made up of five items, including a ceramic mug, stainless-steel tumbler and stainless-steel water bottle.

“The Starbucks x Kate Spade New York collection was created to inspire joyful connections and optimism for the future, two values at the heart of both brands,” Erin Silvoy, VP product and marketing at Starbucks Asia Pacific, said.

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