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Starbucks Wants to Make Its Stores Quieter — Here's How the Coffee Company Is Making It Happen Starbucks plans to introduce about 650 new stores and renovate about 1,000 with sound-absorbing ceiling panels by October.

By Sherin Shibu

Key Takeaways

  • Starbucks is changing up the look and sound of new stores.
  • The company will add new material to store ceilings to reduce noise and improve the customer experience.

The next time you step into a busy new Starbucks store, it could sound different — even quieter.

Starbucks is building new materials into the framework of 650 new stores and about 1,000 renovated stores in the U.S. by October, incorporating elements of design that could make the process of ordering a seasonal latte easier for everyone.

One new feature is the addition of a sound-absorbing treatment called baffles to the ceilings of new stores, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. The move could reduce noise overall, making it easier for baristas to hear what customers are saying and potentially reducing order errors.

Customers in turn could better hear baristas call their names when their orders are ready.

Baffles on the ceiling of Starbucks's first store in DC built around the Inclusive Spaces Framework. Photo credit: Starbucks

The baffles are part of Starbucks's Inclusive Spaces Framework, which focuses on creating new accessible stores throughout the US.

The ceiling treatment could reduce noise that could interfere with hearing aids and other assistive devices, making it less difficult for guests with hearing loss to communicate in stores, Starbucks pointed out in the framework.

Other new elements include doors with push buttons that customers can reach from different heights and angles, barrier-free paths throughout the store, and visual order status boards so customers will have more than just auditory cues to pick up their orders.

Starbucks announced in February that the first store built with the Inclusive Spaces Framework opened on February 16 in Washington D.C.

"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 and primary author and sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Related: Starbucks Slammed For Price Increase On Popular Item

Large retailers have pushed for inclusion recently. Walmart made its stores more sensory-friendly and less stimulating for shoppers in November, with lowered lights, static TVs, and no music during set times.

Lego has plans to make all of its U.S. and Canada stores "sensory certified" by the end of April, creating sensory bags that include noise-reducing headphones and strobe-reducing glasses.

Sherin Shibu

Entrepreneur Staff

News Reporter

Sherin Shibu is a business news reporter at Entrepreneur.com. She previously worked for PCMag, Business Insider, The Messenger, and ZDNET as a reporter and copyeditor. Her areas of coverage encompass tech, business, strategy, finance, and even space. She is a Columbia University graduate.

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