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Famous Fast Food Restaurants that Learned Sign Language

Burger King's King (photo: Burger King)

1. McDonald's

McDonald's was not only the first fast-food restaurant chain to include Sign Language in its advertising, but it was also one of the first TV advertising spots known in Sign Language.

The commercial is titled 'Silent Persuasion' and was launched in 1986. This is the video (in ASL and English captioning):


This wasn't McDonalds' only time. Also in 2009 they launched a spot in Mexico featuring Deaf people in Sign Language, without any translation or captioning. But this time it didn't have the same impact as other campaigns and the spot went almost unnoticed, as well as having received some criticism for the campaign's slogan, 'Universal Language', when in fact Sign Languages are not universal. This is the spot (in Mexican Sign Language):


2. Burger King

Two days before April 15, 2016, the celebration of National ASL Day in the United States, the Burger King chain launched a campaign in which its character, the King of Burger King, speaks in sign language.

The campaign, entitled 'Whopper Sign', was based on the fact that the King of Burger King had never spoken until now, as he uses a plastic mask, but the sign language allowed him to communicate. This is the video (in ASL and English subtitles):


Burger King not only made this video but completely transformed a place with all the text written in fingerspelling, from the brand logo to the menu, as can be seen in the video. The King took the opportunity to ask Deaf people to put a sign on their Whopper burger and share it on Twitter with the hashtag #whoppersign. These were some of the suggested signs, also with the participation of the famous Deaf model Nyle DiMarco:


In addition, through the McLamore Foundation, created by Burger King, they campaigned to provide scholarships to Sign Language students and interpreters.

3. Starbucks

Starbucks has been viral several times in the social media without conducting any campaign, but simply because some of their employees have learned Sign Language and the spreading on social media of Deaf people themselves.

The first time was in November 2015, when Rebecca King, a Deaf person from Florida, United States, placed an order with Starbucks from her car and recorded on video how she was treated in Sign Language by Katie Wyble. Rebecca said in her video:
We can change the world!
The video, which has so far had more than 11 million views, is this:


In February 2016, a deaf boy from Leesburg (a small town in the State of Virginia in the United States), Ibby Piracha, goes three times a week to Starbucks. One day the waitress, Krystal Payne, gives him a note that says:

Photo: Ibby Piracha

The deaf boy is so grateful that he requests that everyone share the story to send the message to the hearing people who will be welcome in the Deaf community. So far it has been shared more than 5,800 times and the news has jumped to the press and television, even the famous actor Ashton Kutcher has shared it.

4. KFC

At KFC, they go beyond advertising, and in many countries they have been hiring Deaf people in their restaurants for more than ten years: Thailand, Malaysia, Egypt, India, Singapore,... KFC employs hundreds of people with disabilities around the world, and even one of its restaurants in India was run by a Deaf person.

When all restaurant workers are deaf, customers learn sign language or point to their orders on posters at the table, as can be seen in the following video of a KFC in Cairo, Egypt:


The system is the same as the one used in Bagkok, Thailand:




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