Otto Kolschowsky’s Little Butcher Shop Was The Beginning Of The OSI Group

One of the worlds biggest food providers is the OSI Group. They operate 65 facilities located in seventeen countries while providing employment for 20,000 people. The business began during the turn of the 20th century. The German immigrant community of Chicago included a man named Otto Kolschowsky. He opened a little meat market in 1909 to serve the community. When the First World War ended he had expanded the business into the wholesale sector. In 1928 the company was rebranded Otto & Sons.

The expansion of the suburbs led to the founding of McDonalds in 1955. The first McDonalds in Des Plaines, Illinois was opened by Ray Kroc. He had an agreement with Otto Kolschowsky’s sons to use Otto & Sons as his fresh beef supplier. He became the McDonald’s corporation CEO when he bought out the business. This made Otto & Sons the supplier for a business about to become one of the most widely recognized in the world.

During the next two decades McDonald’s core product was their hamburger. This pressured Otto & Sons to provide affordable and consistent products that were able to be transported lengthy distances. Cryogenic food processing using flash freezing was a breakthrough towards the end of the 1960’s. This provided cost reduction and product expansion opportunities. Otto & Sons constructed the first plant just to supply McDonalds in 1973. In 1975 the company was renamed as The OSI Group.

Due to the need for international expansion Sheldon Lavin became a partner in 1975. To keep up with McDonalds growth The OSI Group opened their first plant outside of Chicago in Utah. Additional facilities in North America continued during the late 1970’s and early into the 1980’s. Once McDonalds entered the international market The OSI Group followed. In 1978 they entered into a joint venture in Germany followed by Spain in 1980. The OSI Group was becoming a multinational corporation.

The international growth led to Sheldon Lavin becoming the CEO and Chairman during the early 1980’s. This triggered a growth phase still continuing today. The OSI Group has become one of the United States biggest companies. On the Forbes list for 2016 they ranked #58 for private companies with $6.1 billion in sales. The current position of The OSI Group is based on international expansions during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Everything began when Otto Kolschowsky decided the time was right to open a little butcher shop in Illinois.