Starbucks paves way for more inclusive and accessible experiences in stores around the world

Collage of Community Store images: two baristas smiling under facial coverings leaning in together, Community Store signage, and digital display

  • Commits to open or dedicate 1,000 Starbucks Community Stores across the globe by 2030 
  • Partners with Measure of America (MoA) to leverage the Human Development Index (HDI) to better inform meaningful impact in vulnerable communities  
  • Commits to creating more accessible physical and digital experiences through new inclusive design standards 

Ahead of its Annual Meeting of Shareholders, today, Starbucks introduced innovations to its global store portfolio to further strengthen communities and create environments where all feel welcome, part of its continued effort to be a People Positive company. As part of this commitment, the company will expand the number of Community Stores it opens globally, establish tools to help Starbucks better understand the communities it serves and set a new standard for inclusive and accessible store experiences that benefit Starbucks partners (employees) and customers.

Starbucks commitment to be People Positive – a bold aspiration to enhance the well-being of all who connect with the company, rooted in inclusion, opportunity and community – sits at the heart of Starbucks Mission and Values, and comes to life through Starbucks partners and its stores.

Since our earliest days, we have worked to create a culture of warmth and belonging in our stores – a place where everyone is welcome,” said Katie Young, senior vice president of global growth and development at Starbucks. “We know that the more we design for inclusion, to be welcoming and to strengthen our communities, the better our business will be and the better the Starbucks experience will be for our partners and customers. It inspires and motivates us to make our store and digital environments even more inclusive and accessible at every turn.”

Expanding Community Store Initiative Globally

As part of its goal to enhance the well-being of all who connect within its stores, Starbucks will open or dedicate 1,000 Starbucks Community Stores globally by 2030. These store concepts create environments for Starbucks partners to connect with, engage and represent the communities they serve.

Globally, nearly 150 Community Stores already exist, creating a space aimed to help uplift communities in locally relevant ways. These store concepts – led by partners who directly connect to the initiative or cause of that store – provide intentional and dedicated programming and experiences that support economic opportunity in communities, create pathways to opportunity for Starbucks partners, and amplify the positive impact of Starbucks partners and the Third Place. Community Stores around the world are inclusive of several store models, from serving under-resourced and vulnerable communities, to empowering farmers, youth and women, supporting military communities and creating impact in partnership with local nonprofit organizations.

In the U.S., these locations focus on helping provide economic opportunity in rural and urban communities through local hiring, creating dedicated space for communities to come together for events, partnering with local artists and working with diverse contractors and sub-contractors or focus on supporting service members, veterans and military families.

Leveraging New Tools to Better Understand Communities Starbucks Serves

Starbucks will use the American Human Development Index (HDI), developed and calculated by Measure of America (MoA), an initiative of the Social Science Research Council, to identify where its Community Stores could provide the most value and better serve vulnerable communities in the United States.

This information will help inform where and how Starbucks expands its Community Store portfolio in the United States, leveraging insights to create custom, innovative programming focused on inequities across education, food security, health and economic security. In addition to supporting economic development in under-resourced neighborhoods, Community Stores also serve as incubators for how Starbucks can scale locally-relevant programming to nearly 9,000 Starbucks stores across it serves across the country.

The HDI, one of the most widely used indices of well-being around the world, is a summary measure of average achievement in key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and having a decent standard of living.

Designing Inclusive Experiences

With the recognition that one in four American adults has a disability and all people experience changes to their physical or mental health, Starbucks is working to extend disability inclusion and accessibility.

Starbucks is committing to design, test and scale more inclusive design standards and experiences across its store portfolio, starting in the U.S. and then expanding standards globally, with the goal of ensuring that physical and digital Starbucks environments will meet an elevated standard of accessibility by 2030.

These standards will provide customers with more options to enjoy both their in-store and digital Starbucks experiences by creating more ways to communicate both visually and audibly and by offering more tools to help customer navigate physical store environments. To advance these standards, Starbucks is testing technology solutions in select store locations including:   

  • Speech-to-text technology that provides a live visual display of speech for partners and customers to reference when placing or picking up an order.
  • Order readiness notifications through a customer order status board that visually provides an update and confirms when an order is ready.

These efforts build on other accessible design improvements over the last year. Since 2021, Starbucks has offered free Aira service, which connects people who are blind or have low-vision to trained, professional visual interpreters who provide instant access to visual information about the customer’s surroundings through a smartphone app. Starbucks also offers multiple formats of the menu including large-print and Braille menus in all stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Globally, Starbucks operates 11 Signing Stores that provide a space for the Deaf and hard of hearing community to connect through sign language and celebrate Deaf culture.

“We applaud Starbucks commitment to designing more accessible in-store and digital experiences that create a true sense of belonging for everyone,” said Jill Houghton, President and CEO, Disability:IN. “This inclusive design methodology helps level the playing field by recognizing disability is part of the human condition and is a natural part of anyone’s identity. We know that by designing a better experience for people with disabilities, you are also designing a better experience for all.”

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained herein are “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of the applicable securities laws and regulations. Generally, these statements can be identified by the use of words such as “aim,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “feel,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “outlook,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “will,” “would,” and similar expressions intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. These statements include statements relating to trends in or expectations relating to the effects of our existing and any future initiatives, strategies and plans, as well as trends in or expectations regarding our financial results and long-term growth model and drivers, the anticipated timing and effects of recovery of our business, the conversion of several market operations to fully licensed models, our plans for streamlining our operations, including store openings, closures and changes in store formats and models, expanding our licensing to Nestlé of our consumer packaged goods and Foodservice businesses and its effects on our Channel Development segment results, tax rates, business opportunities and expansion, strategic acquisitions, our future relationship with Starbucks Coffee Korea Co., Ltd., expenses, dividends, share repurchases, commodity costs and our mitigation strategies, liquidity, cash flow from operations, use of cash and cash requirements, investments, borrowing capacity and use of proceeds, continuing compliance with our covenants under our credit facilities and commercial paper program, repatriation of cash to the U.S., the likelihood of the issuance of additional debt and the applicable interest rate, the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our financial results, future availability of governmental subsidies for COVID-19 or other public health events, the expected effects of new accounting pronouncements and the estimated impact of changes in U.S. tax law, including on tax rates, investments funded by these changes and potential outcomes and effects of legal proceedings. Such statements are based on currently available operating, financial and competitive information and are subject to various risks and uncertainties. Actual future results and trends may differ materially depending on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to: further spread of COVID-19 and related disruptions to our business; regulatory measures or voluntary actions that may be put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, including restrictions on business operations or social distancing requirements, and the duration and efficacy of such restrictions; the potential for a resurgence of COVID-19 infections and the circulation of novel variants of COVID-19 in a given geographic region after it has hit its “peak”; fluctuations in U.S. and international economies and currencies; our ability to preserve, grow and leverage our brands; the ability of our business partners and third-party providers to fulfill their responsibilities and commitments; potential negative effects of incidents involving food or beverage-borne illnesses, tampering, adulteration, contamination or mislabeling; potential negative 5 effects of material breaches of our information technology systems to the extent we experience a material breach; material failures of our information technology systems; costs associated with, and the successful execution of, the Company’s initiatives and plans, including the successful expansion of our Global Coffee Alliance with Nestlé; our ability to obtain financing on acceptable terms; the acceptance of the Company’s products by our customers, evolving consumer preferences and tastes and changes in consumer spending behavior; partner investments, changes in the availability and cost of labor including any union organizing efforts and our responses to such efforts; significant increased logistics costs; inflationary pressures; the impact of competition; inherent risks of operating a global business; the prices and availability of coffee, dairy and other raw materials; the effect of legal proceedings; and the effects of changes in tax laws and related guidance and regulations that may be implemented and other risks detailed in the company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the “Risk Factors” and “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” sections of the Company's most recently filed periodic reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q and subsequent filings. The company assumes no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements.