Author Jonathan Safran Foer was sitting at a Chipotle one day, when he realized he had nothing to do while enjoying his burrito. He’d neglected to bring a book or magazine. Suddenly, he had an idea: What if there were something truly good to read on his Chipotle cup? Or the bag? A few years earlier, he had met Steve Ells, Chipotle’s C.E.O., so he decided to write to the executive. He said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to just put some interesting stuff on cups or bags? Get really high-quality writers of different kinds, creating texts of different kinds that you just give to your customers as a service.’”
Foer didn’t know what to expect, but Ells went all in. Bags and cups in Chipotle’s stores will be adorned with original text by Foer, Malcolm Gladwell, Toni Morrison, George Saunders, and Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Lewis.
Foer says,” Chipotle refrained from meddling in the editorial process for the duration of the initiative, which the burrito chain has branded “Cultivating Thought.” “I selected the writers, and insofar as there was any editing, I did it,” Foer said. “I tried to put together a somewhat eclectic group, in terms of styles. I wanted some that were essayistic, some fiction, some things that were funny, and somewhat thought provoking.” Kudos to Foer and Chipotle.


  1. Too bad Chipotle Mexican Grill’s new Cultivating Thought campaign forgot to include any of the terrific Mexican American writers writing today! That’s a disappointing move for a company (and/or Foer) who relies on Mexican inspired cuisine and depends a labor force in the fields and behind the counters and in the kitchen that is in no small part Latino – and no doubt hopes to cultivate a clientele that is Latino as well.

    Their PR people say they asked a number of Latinos to participate and they all declined (right!) but so far we have discovered only one – Junot Diaz. Yes, the Dominican-born Diaz does speak Spanish but the last time we looked the Dominican Republic was not part of Mexico. Just sayin’.

    None of the acclaimed Mexican American authors we queried were approached for this project at all. Not Sandra Cisneros, Gary Soto, Dagoberto Gilb, Luis Urrea, Gustavo Arellano, Benjamin Alire Saenz, Michele Serros, Alex Espinoza, …the list goes on. How is that even possible in 2014?

    Check out our Facebook page: Cultivating Invisibility: Chipotle’s Missing Mexicans

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