Much like many other successful companies, OSI Group has humble beginnings. It all started in 1909 when German immigrant, Otto Kolschowsky, opened up a small meat market in the Oak Park neighborhood of Chicago. His work ethic paid off, and he was rewarded with loyal customers and steady business. At the end of World War I, Kolschowsky moved into the wholesale business, and his sons joined the operation in 1928. Business was profitable, as others in the industry needed those wholesale supplies at a constant rate.Things really took off, though, when the Kolschowsky sons made a deal with fellow entrepreneur Ray Kroc. They had agreed to supply a new, little-known restaurant named McDonald’s with their fresh ground beef.
After a few years, it was evident that McDonald’s would only need more and more beef and supplies, and Otto and his sons worked hard to keep up with demand. They used efficiencies of scale and new techniques like cryogenic food processing to expand their productivity. As McDonald’s spread nationwide and worldwide, the Otto & Sons company was right there along with it. It became one of the four main meat suppliers to McDonald’s as they consolidated their supply chain.In 1975, the company rebranded itself as OSI Industries.
In addition to maintaining a presence in Illinois, OSI Group opened a facility in Utah and then more facilities in North America and around the world.As it has grown, OSI Group has not only focused on beef for McDonald’s but has also kept an eye out for new opportunities. They work with large poultry farmers; those who process bacon, sausage and hot dogs; and suppliers of fresh produce. Their worldwide presence allows them to influence the economy as well as local customers from Chicago to Asia. At the same time, OSI Group remembers its roots in small business. Customers, clients, and innovation are all still fundamental to the business model.