Chipotle aims to 'cultivate thought' on its packaging
May 15th, 2014
05:36 PM ET
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Get ready for a side of “thoughtful texts” with your Chipotle burritos.

Starting Thursday, the fast-food chain is rolling out restaurant packaging featuring original essays by authors, actors and comedians, from Toni Morrison and Malcolm Gladwell to Sarah Silverman and Judd Apatow.

“Must a cup, or bag, suffer an existence that is limited to just one humble purpose, defined merely by its simple function?” Chipotle asks on the website of its “Cultivating Thought” author series.

The brainchild of best-selling author Jonathan Safran Foer, “Cultivating Thought” features essays themed as “two-minute readings” accompanied by unique illustrations on cups and bags.

“We live in a world of fewer bookstores, and fewer libraries, and more and more junk asking for our attention. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of a program that brings thoughtful texts, for free, to people with a few minutes to sit and think,” Foer says on Chipotle’s website.

The series is the latest effort from Chipotle to position itself as a fast-food company “that aims to change the way people think about and eat fast food,” this time, by “engaging customers with thought-provoking ideas and cultural issues.”

The essays topics vary from a two-minute recipe for the perfect fountain drink by comedian Bill Hader to a note to the future from George Saunders.

“What author can resist a captive audience? Reading a book is a big ask, but reading a cup is obviously a much smaller one. It’s a wonderful chance to share thoughts with people on a subject I care about,” said author Sheri Fink whose “two-minute case against limits” asks “do we really have the problem we think we have?”

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Filed under: Business and Farming News • Chipotle • Fast Food • News • Restaurants

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. JGN

    Pathetic, 'reading a book is a big ask'!
    Expect more and better of people and they will rise to it. I am sick of the dumbing down of America, and while on the surface there is nothing wrong with putting thought provoking quotes on wrappers and cups, don't pat yourselves on the back as if you will be raising the bar on American literacy. That is absurd.

    May 19, 2014 at 10:36 am |
  2. Bill

    Just an excuse to cover upcoming higher prices. (They announced price increases in their quarterly conference call this week.)

    May 18, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
  3. Mexican Ed

    Chipotle sucks.

    May 17, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
  4. Tom

    Their burritos are mostly rice, big ripoff.

    May 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm |

      You can always ask for half the rice and/or beans. They are making the food the way YOU want it. Don't be a whiner.

      May 17, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
  5. RebelGirl

    Chipotle, the Mexican Grill, forgot about Mexican American writers.

    May 16, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
  6. Dave

    You lost me at Sarah Vajungle Silverman.

    May 16, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
    • Whyzzat, Dave?

      Cuz yer an anti-semite? A h0mo? A filthy backwards-azz conservatard?

      May 16, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
  7. Dave

    People have become so cynical of the motives of everything large corporations do, and perhaps that is somewhat justified. But people need to remember that large corporations are made of of lots of good people. People who are just like you and me, and sometimes those people come up with ideas that aren't based in profit or image, but are simply nice gestures that, even in a small way, bring something positive to the customer's buying experience. Here's a case where the company is doing something it certainly doesn't need to do and they will probably spend more on the idea than they will earn in return, but it's just a nice idea. Will it get them attention? Sure, but people who like their food would continue to eat there whether they did this or not. It's just like the way Panera Bread donates their left over product every night to food pantries in their local communities. Some will say, "sure, it's a tax write off," but maybe it's just because the people that make up that company truly want to give back I run a small business and I do what I can, but I am certainly inspired by this kind of attitude.

    May 16, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
  8. janet

    Can't hurt .. reminds me of reading cereal boxes as a kid ...

    May 16, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
  9. eric

    Just don't get political.....please!

    May 16, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
    • eric

      I dont need a fast food company to tell me what to read or what to think. I have my own brain and will determine what is worthy of my time. Stick to making burritos.

      May 16, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
      • Dave

        Well, aren't you special...

        May 16, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • Nunya

          One doesn't have to be special to have a brain of their own and Chipotle to stick to making burritos. Too bad there are so many people that seem to think that actually employing one's brain is so unusual.

          May 17, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
      • readerpan

        Where in there did you interpret this as telling you what to read or think as opposed to offering you an opportunity to read or think? Options are bad?

        May 17, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
        • JGN

          No, options aren't bad, just a bit insulting at times. Like Eric, I don't need to be told what my 'thought of the day' will be merely because I bought a cup of ice tea at a specific place. I am capable as we all are of generating my own thoughts and prioritizing them.

          May 19, 2014 at 10:41 am |
      • nightwriter

        You do understand that just because something's written on a bag doesn't mean you have to agree with it ... or even read it? Maybe it wouldn't bother you so much if you just chill out a bit ...

        May 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
  10. joebob

    Thought McNuggets

    May 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
  11. ginger

    how much are they paying these authors? If it doesnt affect the price I don't care.

    May 16, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
  12. Chef Sun

    It sure beats mindless zombie texting.

    May 16, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
  13. S.B. Stein

    I hope that it does something positive. We need a more informed and educated citizenry. If it works, then we should hope that more people will think about what is going in the world and vote their minds rather than have talking heads and pundits tell them what to do.

    May 16, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
  14. Mrs. Carmody

    This is just another attempt to whitewash Chipotle's image – and CNN is helping with their marketing campaign.

    May 16, 2014 at 11:22 am |
    • fweioff

      There's nothing wrong with their image now.

      May 16, 2014 at 11:39 am |
      • Adam

        fweioff- apparently, they disagree, or they wouldn't be doing this whole campaign.

        May 16, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
    • Kat

      Mrs. Carmody, I suggest you do your research before you say something so ignorant. If you like the food industry the way it is, then you are more than welcome to continue to consume all of it's antibiotics, hormones, and diseases. But as for me, and millions of others, I would like to see a change. Marketing isn't the point. Education is. Educate yourself.

      May 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
      • Philo99

        How many anti-biotics are in the blood and sweat of their minimum wage workers?

        How could anyone possibly eat at restaurant run but a CEO with such low moral character? He takes home a $45 million dollar paycheck (not including his stock) while his employees can't even afford to feed their families.

        May 22, 2014 at 12:17 am |
        • Nobody Cares

          Then the workers should become CEO's of their own companies.

          May 22, 2014 at 6:49 am |
  15. Noxin

    It's marketing and harmless.

    May 16, 2014 at 6:56 am |
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