The acclaimed food processor known as OSI Group has truly become a special company with their expert methods geared toward global expansion. Their depth of resources enables them to become trusted partners with some of the world’s most recognized food brands. They have a strong capacity for food production as well as a deep bench of talent for culinary creation. Their unique history is also noteworthy as it goes back more than 100 years.
The interesting story of how OSI Group came into existence starts with a German immigrant looking for an opportunity in America. Otto Kolschowsky settled in Chicago where there was a thriving German community made up of other emigrants. He opened up a corner butcher shop and meat market in 1909 to serve local residents. His business did well and eventually, his sons came aboard and they were called Otto & Sons.
For several decades they found success as a local business that was a valued part of the community. Even during these early decades, expansion and growth was a part of their mindset. The move into wholesale meats happened near the end of World War I and could be considered their first expansion. They prospered for a long time in this configuration until a new destiny arrived.
Ray Kroc was scouting locations for the first McDonald’s franchise and he selected Des Plaines, Illinois. This was in 1955 and he also chose Otto & Sons to be the meat supplier to this restaurant. With a handshake agreement, both family businesses were off and running to amazing new levels of growth. This relationship flourished over the years and is a fine example of how the company developed key partnerships.
With McDonald’s in place as their best customer, Otto & Sons continued growing substantially until the need for an entire plant dedicated to them arose. In 1973 they opened the said plant and became one of only four meat suppliers when McDonald’s consolidated supply chain.
Sheldon Lavin had established a relationship with Otto & Sons as they utilized his banking and investing skills for expansion. He eventually acquired the company which was rebranded OSI Group in a nod to the original family. It also revealed their global expansionary mindset.
Today OSI Group maintains more than 60 production facilities in 17 countries. They have approximately 20,000 employees and are focused on responsible growth as they implement strong sustainability programs throughout the company.