OSI Group is one of the leading food producers in the world, with over 20,000 employees in 65 branches across 17 countries in the world. While many people would love to bask in the glory of its successes, few would understand the passion and dedication of humble beginnings.
OSI Group’s history begins with a German immigrant, Otto Kolschowsky, who relocated to Chicago Illinois. In 1909, only two years after migrating, Mr. Kolschowsky opened a butchery and meat market in Oak Park, just west of Chicago. The business operated within the confines of the community. He was dedicated to his business and, after a decade, shortly after the First World War, Mr. Kolschowsky expanded to wholesale. He also moved his operations to Maywood, a suburb in Chicago.
In 1928, the business rebranded to Otto & Sons, much like other family businesses within the area. Despite being small, Otto & Sons was a vital part of the American community and also led to the birth of the OSI Group. After the war, there was a rapid economic expansion, necessitating invention and shrewdness. In light of the newly created demand, an alliance was born between two family businesses.
Ray Kroc, opened a McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois in 1955. At the time, Mr. Kroc was still operating as a franchise agent for Richard and Maurice McDonald. The newly opened restaurant was the first step in expanding McDonald’s through the franchise model that was taking root at the time. Kroc had agreed with Otto Kolschowsky to allow Otto & Sons to be the supplier of fresh ground beef to McDonald’s.
A few years later, Kroc bought out the founders to become the CEO of the modern McDonald franchise. The growth of his restaurant fueled the expansion of Otto& Sons. Over the next two decades, the transition from Otto & Sons to OSI group was unavoidable. Kroc aspired to have a consistent product for his clients, and with that, Otto & Sons established a plant in 1973, solely dedicated to McDonald’s.
In 1975, the business rebranded to OSI Industries, and also changed leadership, with Sheldon Lavin asked to join as a partner. The growth of the company since its establishment continues to be an inspiration for many entrepreneurs worldwide.
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