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.