OSI Group: The Neighborhood Butcher Shop Becomes an International Conglomerate

OSI Group is a 20th-century business success story. The company began as a neighborhood butcher shop that was started by a German-immigrant named Otto Kolschowsky in 1909. This butcher shop would become known as Otto & Sons. It was a small family business until after World War II when Otto met Ray Kroc. Ray was working to help the McDonald’s family franchise their San Bernardino, California-based restaurant. Ray entered into an agreement with Otto to supply him with fresh ground beef for his restaurant. Ray then opened the first McDonald’s franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois in 1955.

This chance meeting between Ray and Otto would change Otto & Sons forever. The company’s main priority was to supply McDonald’s restaurants with ground beef. As the number of McDonald’s restaurants grew, so did Otto & Sons. Over time, Otto & Sons became one of four meat suppliers for McDonald’s, which helped the company become an international meat supplier. The company built a plant that was solely dedicated to supplying McDonald’s with meat in 1973 in West Chicago while another part of the business serviced local restaurants and retailers. In 1975, Otto & Sons became OSI Group to reflect the manufacturing nature of the business.

Today, OSI group is one of the largest privately-held companies in the U.S. with over $6 billion in annual sales. The company has expanded to several locations around the world including Brazil, Mexico, Poland, and the Pacific Rim to help the company cater to regional food needs. Their entry into the Chinese market has done more to help the company expand internationally than any other business move. China opened its market to companies such as Yum, Starbucks, Papa John’s, Subway, and Burger King. OSI Group was there to help supply these companies with the food items they needed.

OSI Group has also continued its expansion in the U.S. The company opened more plants in the U.S. and diversified its offering with bacon, sausages, hot dogs, poultry, and produce. They have also won several awards for their efforts in minimizing their environmental impact food processing. The company will continue to grow as it further develops its food manufacturing process and forms new partnerships.