OSI Group Continues Their History of Innovation

OSI Group is a global concern in the food processing industry whose expansionary vision has allowed them to steadily grow. They have become one of the world’s most capable companies in this industry as evidenced by their considerable resources for food production and culinary creation. Another aspect that drives their success is their ability to cultivate key relationships some of which go back decades.

The history of OSI Group can be traced back to a German immigrant named Otto Kolschowsky who opened a butcher shop in Chicago. He also ran a meat market and starting in 1909 he served the local neighborhoods with distinction. The trust and value that he provided his customers was the platform for his success. An opportunity presented itself when Otto Kolschowsky realized that expanding into wholesale meats could speed the company’s growth. This occurred near the end of World War One and was indeed a catalyst for expansion. The addition of Arthur and Harry Kolschowsky to the management team brought about a name change to Otto & Sons. The business was steady and secure for nearly three decades with this design and more

The year 1955 saw Otto & Sons enter into a historic agreement that was sealed by a handshake. Ray Kroc was working for McDonald’s and was looking for a meat supplier for the first franchise location at Des Plaines, Illinois. Otto & Sons were selected and a key relationship was born that continued into OSI Group and is still in place today. The franchise restaurant model was a runaway success and both companies grew rapidly as a result. The steadily growing number of franchises saw Otto & Sons get busier by the year until they built an entire plant for this key customer. This happened in 1973 and was the best example of their strength in partnering with other successful companies.

One technological innovation that helped Otto & Sons keep pace with McDonald’s was their adoption of flash freezing procedures. This enabled them to ship fresh burgers and other meats to distant franchise locations. It is also an excellent illustration of their continual vision for implementing more efficient means of production.

The arrival of Sheldon Lavin to their management team was in the pivotal year of 1975. He brought with him an international vision for expansion as well as considerable banking and investing skills. The name was also changed that year to OSI Group as the original family retired after a job well done.

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