Starbucks Unveils New Store Design Focused on Accessibility and Inclusion

Starbucks, the renowned coffee giant, has recently introduced a brand new store design that prioritizes accessibility and inclusion. This exciting development aims to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for all customers, including those with disabilities. The first cafe showcasing this innovative design was launched in Union Market, Washington, D.C. on Friday.

Sara Trilling, the President of Starbucks North America, emphasizes that designing for disabilities ultimately leads to good design for everyone. The process of creating a more accessible cafe took approximately two years, during which Starbucks actively sought input from their own baristas. This collaborative effort ensures that the revised store design caters to the unique needs and preferences of both customers and employees.

The Union Market cafe embraces a multitude of accessibility features to improve the overall experience for customers. The entrance is equipped with power-operated doors, reducing the effort required to enter the cafe. Once inside, customers can place their orders using a new, specially-designed point-of-sale system. This system includes an adjustable angle stand, voice assist, screen magnification, and even visual cues with photos of menu items. Such features are particularly helpful for customers whose first language may not be English, as they can ensure the accuracy of their orders and receive excellent service.

Starbucks has also taken steps to create a more inclusive environment behind the counter. They have implemented a new Clover Vertica system for brewing drip coffee, which boasts a more accessible design with a large dial and protruding buttons. In addition, digital status boards inform customers when their drinks are ready for pickup, complemented by baristas calling out their names.

The store’s lighting has been adjusted to minimize glare, shadows, and backlighting that can hinder visibility. Starbucks has also improved insulation in their stores to reduce noise levels, ensuring a peaceful atmosphere. The overall floor plan has been meticulously designed to be obstacle-free with open sightlines, allowing for easy navigation and a pleasant ambiance.

Future Plans and Expansion

Starbucks plans to adopt this new store design framework in all future company-owned locations. This commitment to accessibility and inclusion is not expected to inflate costs significantly, as the new stores will be built within a similar budget. In fact, Starbucks believes that this enhanced design will strengthen customer connections and encourage employee engagement.

In the coming year, Starbucks will be opening over 600 new stores, expanding their U.S. footprint by 4%, including licensed locations. With each new store embodying this inclusive design, Starbucks aims to create a more accessible and inclusive experience for all its customers, regardless of their abilities or limitations.


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