DENVER - (BUSINESS WIRE) - May 4, 2015 - Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) has launched the Cultivating Thought essay contest, a writing competition offering scholarship opportunities to middle and high school students who submit essays by May 31. By entering original stories about a time when food created a memory, participating students will have the chance to see their work featured on cups and bags in Chipotle restaurants as part of the Cultivating Thought author series.
Chipotle essay contest offers students scholarships and a chance to have their writing published on Chipotle packaging.
The essay contest allows current middle and high school students (ages 13 to 18) who are planning to attend college the opportunity to submit an original story of up to 1,700 characters for consideration. Ten grand prizewinners will have their stories printed and illustrated on Chipotle's cups and bags, and also will receive $20,000 each, deposited into a 529 savings account, to support their continuing education. The contest runs until May 31, 2015. Students can submit one story per entrant on the Cultivating Thought website, http://cultivatingthought.com/essaycontest.
Cultivating Thought series curator Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Eating Animals) will judge the contest along with novelist/screenwriter Laura Esquivel (Like Water for Chocolate). Foer has served as curator of the series since it began in May 2014, and Esquivel will be a featured author in the third edition of the series, due in Chipotle restaurants this fall.
"When Chipotle asked me to take part in the Cultivating Thought program both as an author and an essay contest judge, I was excited by the idea of sharing my story through this unique channel and helping young, inspiring writers do the same," said Esquivel.
Ten winners will be chosen based on the following criteria: originality, creativity, quality of composition, and use of theme. The winning stories will be featured on the fourth edition of Cultivating Thought packaging, slated to appear in 2016.
"The goal of the Cultivating Thought series has been to engage our customers' intellect and perhaps offer a moment of literary reflection on stories written by authors with unique perspectives," said Mark Crumpacker, chief creative and development officer at Chipotle. "Through the essay contest, we are offering young writers an opportunity to share their own perspective on a one-of-a-kind platform to express their writings about food, and a chance to receive a scholarship to help advance their education."
Cultivating Thought is an extension of Chipotle's progressive approach to food and culture, which continues to disrupt the traditional fast-food experience. Chipotle challenges the conventions of the fast-food industry with marketing programs that entertain, engage and educate customers, while also sparking a dialogue about the fast-food experience. Reaching more than 800,000 customers daily, the Cultivating Thought author series, and the new essay contest, create an opportunity for people to read something new from the next generation of great authors.
The third edition of Cultivating Thought packaging, featuring Esquivel and other well-known writers and thinkers, will be available in Chipotle restaurants later this year. Customers also can access these stories by visiting http://chipotle.com/cultivatingthought.
For official rules and complete details, visit http://www.cultivatingthought.com/essaycontest-rules.
Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO, started Chipotle with the idea that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast-food experience. Today, Chipotle continues to offer a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods and served in a distinctive atmosphere. Through our vision of Food With Integrity, Chipotle is seeking better food from using ingredients that are not only fresh, but that -- where possible -- are sustainably grown and raised responsibly with respect for the animals, the land and the farmers who produce the food. In order to achieve this vision, we focus on building a special people culture that is centered on creating teams of top performers empowered to achieve high standards. This people culture not only leads to a better dining experience for our customers, it also allows us to develop future leaders from within. Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in 1993 and operates more than 1,800 restaurants, including 17 Chipotle restaurants outside the U.S. and 10 ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen restaurants, and is an investor in an entity that owns and operates two Pizzeria Locale restaurants. For more information, visit Chipotle.com.