OSI Group has grown over the years to become one of the premier food processors which maintains a global presence. Their tremendous depth of resources for food production and culinary creation has powered an ability to cultivate key partnerships. The company’s growth has been strategic as many acquisitions have enhanced or improved operations.
The entrepreneurial agility that drives OSI Group is rare for a company of their size. In one recent year, they were singled out by Forbes magazine as one of the largest private food companies in America. They have more than 60 facilities in 17 countries as well as approximately 20,000 employees. Furthermore, they have an extraordinary history that dates back more than a century.
Otto Kolschowsky was a German immigrant who opened up a corner butcher shop and meat market in Chicago. This happened in 1909 and he found success serving local citizens many of whom were also German emigrants. His business prospered over time and near the end of World War I, he expanded into wholesale meats. His sons also joined the business and they became Otto & Sons in 1928. They were a trusted part of the community in this fashion for decades.
Ray Kroc enters the story of Otto & Sons in 1955 when he was searching for a meat supplier. The first McDonald’s franchise was located in Des Plaines, Illinois and he selected them to supply fresh burgers. This agreement was settled with a handshake and thus began an enduring partnership. At the time, both companies were small, family-owned businesses. Together they grew at an amazing rate as the franchise model was very successful.
Otto & Sons continued to be one of four meat suppliers to McDonald’s in later decades. They utilized new technology that involved flash freezing burgers which allowed them to be transported great distances. The key partnership continued to grow and in 1973 Otto & Sons devoted an entire plant to McDonald’s. In 1975 the company changed its name to OSI Group and sought to expand into global markets.
One influential factor for this avenue of growth was Sheldon Lavin who came aboard as a partner. He became the catalyst for strategic growth around the world with his expertise in banking and investing. OSI Group has never looked back and they continue to build on their tradition of innovation and expansion. They also seek to grow in a responsible manner and have strong sustainability programs in place.
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