There aren’t many premier international food processing companies with a history as rich as OSI Group. Their story takes place during energetic times in American history and involves an immigrant’s success story. It is also wrapped up in a decades-long partnership with the world’s most recognized brand. The innovation and growth that has characterized OSI Group have taken them to unprecedented heights of business achievements and more
Otto Kolschowsky was a German immigrant who was looking for his place in the land of opportunity. He settled in Chicago and in 1909 opened up a corner butcher shop and meat market. For nearly a decade he thrived as he served many other German emigrants like himself. The growing German population made up a sizeable percentage of this crossroads city and the friendly face and voice of Kolschowsky provided a valuable resource to the local community.
The first expansion for Kolschowsky was into wholesale meats and this happened near the end of World War One. As his business continued growing, it became a family affair when his two sons joined him as managers. This occurred in 1928 and they became Otto & Sons which continued the immigration success story. For nearly three more decades they functioned like this as a trusted member of the business community.
1955 was a watershed year for Otto & Sons as the next catalyst for their business arrived in the person of Ray Kroc of McDonald’s. He was planning the first franchise location in Des Plaines, Illinois and needed a quality meat supplier. The excellent reputation of Otto & Sons led to a handshake agreement with Kroc and both companies were off and running.
The historic first McDonald’s franchise was the start of something amazing. The chain restaurant model proved to be a massive success with American consumers during a time of prosperity. Both companies grew at extraordinary rates and expanded regularly.
A significant instance of innovation occurred when Otto & Sons adopted a new technology for flash freezing their burgers. This enabled them to supply distant McDonald’s franchises and their production continued to grow. In 1973 they continued supplying the Golden Arches as one of only four companies. An entire plant was devoted to their product line. In 1975 Otto & Sons became OSI Group as it reflected their growth on a global scale. A key executive named Sheldon Lavin also arrived during this year and helped propel OSI Group with an expansionary vision as he utilized his banking and investing skills.