Sign language baristas at ABN AMRO: signing to order coffee

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Visitors to ABN AMRO’s branch office at Koningskade in The Hague can now order their coffee fix in a rather unusual way: by using sign language. From this week, the bank employs deaf baristas taking orders for cappuccino or other types of coffee.

The response from both visitors and employees has been very positive, notes Kees Olivier, Director of Koningskade office: “Customers are pleasantly surprised and many of our own people made a point of dropping in to come and take a look. It takes a little getting used to, but everyone seems to do fine ordering their coffees.” To help customers, a computer screen displays the signs for the different coffee varieties. “And at least as important as the way of ordering: the service is excellent and the coffee delicious. Everyone leaves with a smile on their faces.” Customers are served by the sign language baristas from Monday through Friday, between 10.00 am and 2.00 pm.

Work disabilities into real jobs

Early in the year, ABN AMRO’s sustainable pavilion Circl in Amsterdam saw the launch of the Sign Language Coffee Bar, the first to employ sign language baristas. The bank’s larger offices are scheduled to follow suit one by one, with The Hague one of the early ones. This initiative is part of ABN AMRO’s multi-year programme to help people with a disability find jobs, as the bank is looking to help improve their position. ABN AMRO collaborates with Ctalents, an agency for people with sensory disabilities, in this initiative with deaf baristas.

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