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Starbucks to roll-out new accessible store model in the US to promote inclusivity

The Inclusive Spaces Framework aims to make Starbucks’ US stores more accessible for customers and staff with disabilities, including wider passageways, optimised acoustics and ergonomic coffee machine equipment

Starbucks’ Union Market store in Washington D.C. | Photo credit: Starbucks


Starbucks has committed to make its US store portfolio more accessible and inclusive for customers and staff with disabilities.  

The new Inclusive Spaces Framework includes upgraded point-of-sale technology, such as voice recognition and touchscreen magnification, power-operated doors, wider passageways and optimised acoustics and lighting. The stores will also feature more accessible coffee machine equipment with larger dials, more accessible reach and additional visual prompts for baristas during beverage preparation. 

Fourteen percent of Starbucks US workforce identified as having a disability last year, alongside 11% of corporate staff and 11% of manufacturing employees, company documents show.

The Seattle-based coffee chain opened the first Starbucks store under the Inclusive Spaces Framework on 16 February at Union Market in Washington D.C. and has committed to rolling the framework out across all newly built and renovated company-operated US stores. 

“At Starbucks, we have challenged ourselves to imagine what’s possible when we take a closer look at the many ways our partners and customers interact with us and experience our stores every day. Building and scaling an Inclusive Store Framework is central to our mission of connection and will lead to greater access for all,” said Katie Young, Senior Vice President of Store Operations, Starbucks. 

Starbucks currently operates nearly 16,500 US stores – approximately 58% of which are company-operated. The coffee chain is seeking to grow its total US footprint by approximately 4% this year.   

The US coffee giant achieved 8% year-on-year sales growth in its first quarter to reach $9.4bn, with US revenues rising 9% to $6.6bn.  

Starbucks also operates 18 Signing Stores globally – providing employment opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing individuals – as part of its commitment for more physical and digital Starbucks environments to meet an elevated standard of accessibility by 2030. 

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