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Starbucks’ first store with disabled staffs hailed as an exemplary

Jan. 14, 2021 - 13:54 By Jo He-rim
Starbucks Coffee Korea staffs pose at the coffee outlet in Seoul National University Dental Hospital. (Starbucks Coffee Korea)

A month into its operation, Starbucks Coffee Korea’s first store committed to making a better workplace for workers with disabilities is showing early success, the coffee chain said Thursday.

In early December, Starbucks Korea opened a new store inside Seoul National University Dental Hospital, filling half of its 12 staff positions with people with disabilities.

From the initial design stage, the US-based coffee chain took in opinions to make the outlet a disability-friendly space for both customers and workers. For example, the coffee chain drew different colored lines to direct customers with color blindness.

While the outlet is located inside a hospital, and only to-go orders can be made due to the social distancing measures on COVID-19, the outlet is placing top five in sales among 12 outlets in the neighborhood, Starbucks Korea said.

The coffee chain said the outlet was showing sales that is 160 percent higher than anticipated, and a daily average of 600 customers visit the outlet during weekdays.

“I am touched to see people with and without disabilities get along without discrimination,” the branch’s sub-manager Choi Ye-na, who is with hearing loss, said.

“Many customers know that this is a special outlet. I appreciate how they express endless support, and it encourages me to do better to provide with the best service.”

Starbucks Korea said some of the revenue made in the outlet will be donated to the Seoul National University Hospital to financially support dental surgery for the disabled with low income.

By Jo He-rim (