Earlier this week, we asked our readers for any information about Chipotle’s “Cultivating Thought” campaign—namely, how much dough the chain restaurant is offering famous authors to write the (extremely) short stories that appear on Chipotle cups and bags. Our readers delivered a few theories, and at least two plausible numbers.

One reader suggested $250,000 (without much explanation). Later on, another reader clarified:

Not $250K per writer, the total spend on writers is $250,000.

Which shakes out to: $25,000 per writer. Not bad! (You may remember Michael Lewis telling Conan O’Brien: “It pays very well to write a Chipotle cup.”)

An anonymous reader, writing via email, wasn’t so sure:

I’ve worked on QSR [quick-service restaurant] deals, this is probably around $3500-$5000 per author. ... The 6-figure number is for a McDonald’s Happy Meal license.

However another Gawker reader—who happens to be a New York Times best-selling novelist, and positioned to know one way or the other—came across a figure in the ballpark of $25,000:

‎I heard $30,000 (but that’s from a friend).

Even at $25,000, Jonathan Safran Foer would have pulled in $78.36 per word for his 319-word story, “Two Minute Personality Test.” At $30,000, he would have drawn $94.04 per word. That’s on top of a free year of Chipotle food, provided as a courtesy to each writer.

And, look, there’s nothing wrong with this. The other struggling writers Chipotle tapped to write two-minute-long stories—

  • Toni Morrison
  • Malcolm Gladwell
  • Sarah Silverman
  • Michael Lewis
  • Bill Hader
  • Judd Apatow
  • George Saunders
  • Steve Pinker
  • Sheri Fink

—need all of the help they can get.

Email the author: trotter@gawker.com