Starbucks Launches New Accessible Store Design

The first location includes features like optimized acoustics and improvements for customers with low vision.

February 19, 2024

Starbucks is creating a more accessible store experience across its U.S. store portfolio through an Inclusive Spaces Framework, the company announced. Building on the company’s commitment to inclusion, the company said the new design framework defines how Starbucks will help expand independence, choice and ease for all people across physical and digital spaces.

The Inclusive Spaces Framework was created in partnership with a diverse community of customers, partners and accessibility experts to develop scalable solutions for retail spaces. Moving forward, all newly built and renovated Starbucks company-operated stores in the United States will begin to incorporate the framework.

The framework will also be open sourced and further developed to help expand accessibility across the retail industry.

“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,” said Katie Young, senior vice president of store operations. “Building and scaling an Inclusive Store Framework is central to our mission of connection and will lead to greater access for all.”

The first store with the inclusive design opened in Washington, D.C., on February 16, and includes features such as optimized acoustics and lighting for improved visual and audible communication for customers, and accessible equipment designs for a better employee experience.

The Washington, D.C., Union Market cafe has power-operated doors so customers can use less effort to enter the cafe. Once inside, they can place their orders with baristas using a new point-of-sale system that has an adjustable angle stand, voice assist, screen magnification and photos of menu items, reported CNBC.

The counters are also lower, making them more accessible for wheelchair users.

Behind the counter, Starbucks’ new Clover Vertica system for brewing drip coffee has a more accessible design, with a large dial and protruding buttons.

“You can actually feel the settings by touch or using light to indicate when brewing cycles and other things have been completed,” Sara Trilling, president of Starbucks North America said.

All future company-owned locations will follow a similar framework. Starbucks plans to open more than 600 new stores this year, increasing its U.S. footprint by 4%, including licensed locations, said CNBC.

In November 2023, Starbucks detailed its reinvention strategy.