OSI Group has become one of the largest food processors in the world as they operate more than 60 facilities in 17 different countries. Their history spans more than a century and the company’s substantial growth is nothing short of extraordinary. Their ability to thrive in a globally connected business world provides a beacon for other companies seeking the same success.
The unique history of OSI Group began with Otto Kolschowsky who emigrated from Germany with hopes of success. He founded Otto & Sons which was a butcher shop and meat market serving the citizens of Chicago. They were successful in serving the local community with one location and thrived this way for many years.
The game changer for Otto & Sons was a handshake agreement with the legendary Ray Kroc of McDonald’s fame. They became the first supplier of fresh ground beef for this famous retail chain that was about to explode with growth. This key relationship was the impetus for the exponential success of both companies.
In 1973 Otto & Sons devoted an entire plant to McDonald’s and became one of only four suppliers for the entire chain in the United States. This state of the art facility was located in West Chicago and employed new technology to flash freeze hamburger patties. This process enabled frozen burgers to be transported to distant restaurants throughout the country.
Sheldon Lavin has been an important figure in the development of OSI Group. Lavin’s financial and accounting skills helped them secure needed capital for the new plant producing the aforementioned burgers. Their name changed from Otto & Sons to OSI in the mid-seventies as the business grew into other sectors in the food processing industry.
Today, OSI Group continues its successful patterns of growth and innovation. They have deep resources for culinary creation endeavors, sophisticated supply chain management techniques, and an enormous production capacity. Their steady growth under Sheldon Lavin’s leadership has landed them on the Forbes magazine’s list of largest private companies.
Global expansion in Europe and China has been notable in scope as these markets continue to grow for the company. Japan is yet another location where they’ve expanded as they opened a beef production facility in 2010. The Dutch company called Baho Food was also purchased in 2016 and made their European operations stronger and more capable.
OSI has opened two culinary innovation centers which help them develop tasty and unique food products. One is based in Aurora, Illinois near the company’s headquarters and the other is based in Shanghai, China.
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