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Starbucks Focuses On In-Store Disability Access

Image above: In Washington, D.C., the first store to integrate the inclusive framework design.

Last week Starbucks announced it is developing a “more accessible store experience” through what it calls the Inclusive Spaces Framework, which “defines how Starbucks will help expand independence, choice and ease for all people across physical and digital spaces,” according to the release.

With an estimated one in four adults in the United States with a disability, the chain stated that it is working to better meet the needs of its partners, customers and communities. All future newly built and renovated Starbucks company-operated stores in the U.S. will incorporate the framework.

Among the changes to be incorporated are power doors and inclusive auditory and visual experience acoustics and lighting. Updated point-of-sale systems are now adjustable to enable increased visibility, voice assist, customization, screen magnification, tools for language diversity and order accuracy, among others.



Stores will now also display Customer Order Status Boards, informing patrons of their drinks’ process from purchase to pick-up.

Physical store layouts will all provide continuous, unobstructed pedestrian paths, and counters that have been lowered with overhangs to accommodate wheelchair access.

For employees, Starbucks provides the Starbucks Clover Vertica brewer, with such features as “a larger dial and button for (easier) reach and … a light to notify when brewing is complete,” per the release.

Last week the first store to integrate the inclusive framework design opened in Washington, D.C. This location “optimized acoustics and lighting for improved visual and audible communication for customers and accessible equipment designs for a better partner (employee) experience," according to the company.

“Starbucks opening of their new store built with inclusive design elements is a big moment as we try to make retail spaces more accessible and inclusive,” said Tony Coelho, a former U.S. congressman, primary author and sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the release. “We have to go beyond just what is required to put accessibility and inclusion first to ensure all people feel like they belong in community spaces.”

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