OSI Group Scaling the Global Food Processing Industry

Business Leader Business Mogul

From a humble corner butcher in Chicago, Illinois, OSI Group has grown to become a leading multi-national food provider. Today, the company is a host to over 20,000 employees and branches in 17 countries.

Humble Immigrant Beginnings

The success story of OSI Group started with immigrant roots in 1909. A German immigrant, Otto Kolchowski opened a small butcher to serve his neighborhood. The business flourished, and by the end of WWI, he had expanded to the wholesale side, with operations in Maywood, Chicago. A decade later the company acquired the brand Otto & Sons in 1928.

Tapping into Nascent Ages of Franchising

In 1955, Ray Kroc opened in McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Chicago which operated as a franchise agent for the original McDonald’s restaurant in San Bernardino, CA founded in 1944. But before the transaction, Kroc had entered into a pact with Arthur and Harry, Otto’s sons as his primary meat supplier.It was only a couple of years before Kroc acquired McDonald’s and became the first CEO of the entire corporation. After developing the franchise model, it was just apparent that he tasked Otto’s sons with the task of supplying fresh ground meat. Soon, the company became a globally recognized brand.

State-of-the-Art Processing Technology

The development of Otto & Sons into a worldwide brand, OSI Group, transpired over 20 years. The core component of Kroc’s franchise model was to offer McDonald’s clients consistent food quality. Granted, it was upon the company to deliver, quality, consistent and affordable meat products that could be transported overseas to every McDonald franchise across the globe. In 1973, Otto & Sons build a plant solely dedicated to processing flash-frozen hamburger patties for the McDonald’s chain. Non-McDonald’s meat products were bundled under the Glenmark brand which served the local markets. In 1975, to mark this transition, Otto and Sons assumed the brand, OSI Group as Sheldon Larvin as a partner.

Global Expansion

The complexity of expansion into the global scene made Sheldon Larvin become the CEO of OSI Group in 1980 due to his experience as an entrepreneur and a financial advisor. The company stretched its services to other forays and other sectors besides McDonald’s. Today, the company is ranked at No. 58 with sales margins of $6.1 billion.