OSI Group is one of the largest privately-held food manufacturing companies in the United States with over $6 billion in annual sales. Over the past 30 years, the company has expanded internationally with operations throughout the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, Brazil, and India. OSI Group still maintains its headquarters in Chicago, where it all began in 1909 when German immigrant Otto Kolschowsky opened a neighborhood butcher shop and retail meat market. This business was given the name Otto & Sons and became a successful local business.
Otto & Sons is a classic case of where enormous success is the result of hard work coming together with opportunity. In 1955, Ray Kroc met with Otto’s sons Arthur and Harry. Ray was about to open the first McDonald’s franchise restaurant in nearby Des Plaines, Illinois and needed a fresh ground beef supplier for the expanding McDonald’s restaurant franchise model. Ray, Arthur, and Harry came to a handshake agreement that would change the fortunes of Otto & Sons forever. A few years later, Ray Kroc would purchase the McDonald’s restaurant business and become the CEO of the McDonald’s Corporation. As McDonald’s grew into an international corporate powerhouse, Otto & Sons grew alongside the company.
An article on Gazetteday.com titled “A Century of Innovation at OSI Group,” points out by the mid-1970s, Otto & Sons would become OSI Industries and have a dedicated facility solely to provide meat products to McDonald’s. The other part of OSI Industries would continue to service regional restaurants and retail stores. The company would later become OSI Group as it expanded into the international market alongside McDonald’s in the early 1980s.
Today, OSI Group provides a variety of food products beyond hamburger patties. They also offer pork, pizza, poultry, seafood, baked goods, fruit, salsa, beans, tofu, and vegetable products. The company currently has 65 facilities in 17 countries and has over 20,000 employees. The company’s growth from a neighborhood butcher shop to an international provider of food products is a true American success story.