OSI Group Builds Upon a Fascinating History of Innovation

OSI Group has crafted a winning business model of expansion and innovation as one of the world’s top food processors. Their wide-ranging abilities in food production and culinary creation often lead the food industry as evidenced by their 65 facilities in 17 countries around the globe. They are a highly regarded private concern that was ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the largest of their kind. What many people don’t realize is the substantial history behind the company that has propelled it forward through the decades.

Chicago has always been an important commercial city and this is where the future OSI Group got its start in 1909. Otto Kolschowsky was a recently arrived German immigrant looking to make his way in America so he opened up a butcher shop and meat market. The thriving German community during those days found his business to be a valued and trusted part of the local area.

The first expansion for Kolschowsky was when he took his business into the wholesale meat trade. This entailed a move to the Chicago suburb of Maywood which he found more advantageous. His enhanced business model worked for several decades and their standing in the community remained strong. When his family joined him as managing partners in 1928 they became Otto & Sons. Arthur and Harry Kolschowsky picked up the reins of their father’s strong efforts to continue in the next generation.

The year of 1955 was a tremendous milestone for Otto & Sons as they struck a deal with Ray Kroc of McDonald’s to be the meat supplier to their first franchise location. This was in Des Plaines, Illinois and was the beginning of a decades-long key relationship which thrives to this day. This handshake agreement signified the start of rapid expansion for both companies as the chain restaurant model was a breakaway success. It was also a tremendous story in American corporate history as McDonald’s has become the world’s most recognized brand.

OSI Group is today a potent practitioner of innovation in their operations. An earlier example of this concept was the implementation of flash freezing technology by the forerunner Otto & Sons. They utilized this nascent procedure to keep up with the demands of their best customer as McDonald’s grew remarkably every year.

Sheldon Lavin has been with OSI Group since 1975 which was also the year their name was changed. He has been an important figure for the company as they grew into an international giant. His banking and investing skills helped them expand strategically and responsibly.


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