Chipotle is serving up some food for thought. Next time you eat at the restaurant chain, you’ll be exposed to Chipotle’s Cultivating Thought, a project that prints essays and illustrations upon the paper cups and paper bags, giving you something to digest other than Mexican food.
Chipotle’s Cultivating Thought
A ways back, writer Jonathan Safran Foer (about who beautiful New American Haggadah I have blogged) found himself eating at a Chipotle without anything to read. This inspired a thought. What if there were something truly good to read on his Chipotle cup? Or the bag?
Having met Chipotle’s C.E.O, Steve Ells, a few years earlier, Foer sent off an e-mail in which he wrote the following:
“‘I bet a shitload of people go into your restaurants every day, and I bet some of them have very similar experiences, and even if they didn’t have that negative experience, they could have a positive experience if they had access to some kind of interesting text,’” Foer recalled. “And unlike McDonald’s, it’s not like they’re selling their surfaces to the highest bidder. They had nothing on their bags. So I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to just put some interesting stuff on it? Get really high-quality writers of different kinds, creating texts of different kinds that you just give to your customers as a service.’”
Ells not only embraced the idea, but he put Jonathan in charge of curating and soliciting the hippest contemporary authors and illustrators to embellish Chipotle cups and bags with short stories/essays and art. And voilà! Chipotle’s Cultivating Thought was born.
Here’s a close look at all the cups and bags. (The stories can be read larger in full here)
Toni Morrison Two-Minute Seduction, illustrations by Johanna Basford:
Malcolm Gladwell Two-Minute Barn-Raising, illustrations by Noah MacMillan:
Sarah Silverman Two-Minute Index, illustrations by Brosmind:
Jonathan Safran Foer Two-Minute Personality Test, illustrations by Julian Callos:
Michael Lewis The Two-Minute Minute, illustrations by Antony Hare:
Bill Hader Two-Minute Recipe for the Perfect Fountain Drink, illustrations by Dakyung Lee:
Judd Apatow Two Minutes of Rambling Wisdom, illustrations by Kate Bingaman-Burt:
George Saunders Two-Minute Note to the Future, illustrations by Kristyna Baczynski:
Steven Pinker A Two-Minute Case for Optimism, illustrations by Mattais Adolfsson:
Sheri Fink Two-Minute Case Against Limits, illustrations by Pat Perry:
Chipotle has created a dedicated site for the Author Series where you can read the stories as well as interviews with the authors. Visit the Cultivating Thought site here.