A Century of Innovation at OSI Group
There’s been a huge boom in the food production industry. On the forefront of this boom is OSI Group, which has it’s modest beginnings in Chicago, where German immigrant Otto Kolschowsky set foot in America at the turn of the 20th century. In 1909, within 2 years, Kolschowsky set up shop in Oak Park on Chicago’s west side where he started a retail meat market and butcher shop to serve the small community of immigrants who had came to the Midwest to make a good living. As business started booming, within a decade, Kolschowsky expanded his business into the suburbs, going from retail to wholesale. In 1928, nearly another decade later, he re-named his business Otto & Sons, following a similar trend and story line for most immigrant businesses at the time.
After the end of the first World War, the economy was expanding and suburbs were sprouting all over America. For the OSI Group, still named Oto & Sons at the time, this meant the opportunity to take a huge leap from a small family business into big production. The family business caught their big break in 1955, when a man named Ray Krok, opened up the first McDonald’s franchise restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois. But before he did, he signed a deal with the sons of Otto Kolschowsky, Arthur and Harry to be the restaurant’s supplier for ground beef. As things were on the rise for Krok, he eventually bought out the company and started developing the model for what we know today as the franchise restaurant business.
As his company expanded into the internationally recognized powerhouse we know today, so did the OSI Group. The real transition OTO & Sons had from being a regional supplier to the major corporation known as OSI Group came in the next two decades, as their relationship with McDonalds grew as fast as the franchise business. New technology such as flash freezing and other food processing advancements lead to a more consistent product. The close relationship between the two companies allowed OSI Group to go from being one of hundreds of suppliers for McDonald’s corporation to one of it’s few core suppliers. This helped the company expand its manufacturing presence and power across the Midwest and eventually even going internationally, making them the global powerhouse they are today.