As a kid growing up, it never occurred to me that my family’s company could be threatened by another company. That all changed when my dad came home from work one day very concerned about a new blog that was launched by Chipotle Mexican Grill and The Huffington Post. For weeks I watched as he wrote letters and spent hours trying to get through to them to ask them to stop using our company’s name. It was all my mom and dad talked about and a bit confusing to me, but since then I’ve learned a lot about the value in a company name, and a quite a bit about trademark and corporate ethics.
As many of you all know, my Dad, Connor and I are now traveling across the country and picketing Chipotle Mexican Grills. Before now, trips that I have taken with my family have revolved around helping people. We’ve participated in the Run Across Ethiopia to raise money to build schools and a library and when I was six I went to Mexico with my dad to check on water well projects in Chiapas. I now find myself traveling because my family needs the help of others. The Huffington Post and Chipotle Mexican Grill don’t seem to care that my family has had that name trademarked longer then I have been alive. My dad noticed that in their 2012 annual report Chipotle said that if someone infringed on their trademark it would hurt their business and brand. In fact they said it was one of the greatest threats to their success. So they even said that what they are doing to us would hurt their business should someone do that them.
So, as a 13 year old, I must admit the whole thing was a little scary at first. I was really nervous when we went to our first Chipotle. When we got there the store manager came out and was really nice, which made me feel a lot better about this whole trip. Most of our experiences with Chipotle managers have been really positive. They have ranged between slightly defensive, to outright welcoming. But even the ones that start out a little defensive seem to come around when I tell them our story. On the contrary, all the customers and people that approach have been very friendly and supportive. A couple of days ago we were at a Chipotle in Cleveland we were getting a lot of attention from customers, mall security kicked us off of the grounds because it was a private parking lot. The fact that we were kicked off made more people want to come talk to us. So for the rest of the trip we’ll be sticking to restaurants that are in downtown settings on public sidewalks. Whatever the outcome, this whole trip has been a very educational experience for my little brother and I.
Hey Stella and Connor here. Today is our last day staying in D.C. Today we went to the Lincoln Memorial. We brought our banner and took pictures in front of the memorial. Today we had a lot of people come up to us and ask why they couldn’t trust Chipotle.
Our whole goal of this trip is to convince The Huffington Post and Chipotle to do what we all know is right and stop using our name. If you feel inclined to help us out or just want more information you can visit www.chipotlewatch.com. The site includes links to more information and suggested actions. You can also like and follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Food-For-Thought-Inc/60767947508?ref=hl.