OSI Group has grown at extraordinary rates over the years thanks to the vision of Sheldon Lavin their owner and CEO. The company has become one of the globe’s most capable food processors with a remarkable range of abilities. From a serious capacity for food production to the innovation of culinary creation, they employ a stable of talented individuals. It’s hard to imagine that this sprawling global concern was once a corner butcher shop in Chicago serving local neighborhoods.
The founding of what would grow into OSI Group was accomplished by Otto Kolschowsky in 1909. He was a German immigrant who settled in Chicago and opened up a corner butcher shop and meat market. The brisk trade that he did was encouraging and within a decade he expanded for the first time into wholesale meats. By 1928, Arthur and Harry Kolschowsky were helping their father manage the business and they became Otto & Sons. For nearly three decades Otto & Sons faithfully served their community and were a valued member of it. Opportunity and destiny weren’t finished with them, however. In 1955 they entered into a handshake agreement with the representative of another family-owned business. It was to be the start of something amazing that propelled both companies to extraordinary heights of growth.
Ray Kroc of McDonald’s was in need of a meat supplier for the first franchise location in Des Plaines, Illinois. He selected Otto & Sons for their quality and reliability which touched off a key relationship. The companies grew together as the franchise restaurant model was a smash hit with consumers.
A technological breakthrough helped them keep up with McDonald’s as they rapidly expanded their number of franchises. A new process called flash freezing allowed Otto & Sons to supply burgers to all corners of America where before transportation had been limited. The substantial growth continued and resulted in the construction of a new plant dedicated exclusively for McDonald’s. This occurred in 1973 as they continued to work with them as one of only four suppliers.
The year 1975 was an important one for Otto & Sons as they changed their name to OSI Group. That year also saw Sheldon Lavin become a managing partner who implemented a vision for global expansion. His skill in banking and investing helped them strategically and steadily advance into new markets. OSI Group now has a strong presence in Europe and Asia among many other international places.