OSI Industries, Out of the Arches Shadow

OSI Industries is one of the largest meat processing companies in the world. Although it now has production facilities all over the world, it is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, less than thirty miles from where it all started over a century ago. The business was started by a German immigrant named Otto Kolschowsky as a small family shop. He opened his business in 1909 in Oak Park, on the west side of Chicago, in the German quarter. It grew quickly and steadily, and by the end of World War 1, he expanded business into wholesale. The company stayed in the family, and in 1928 was renamed Otto & Sons. It was not until the 1950’s, however, that the partner that would be crucial to OSI Industries future growth and prosperity and they became the primary meat supplier for a new hamburger restaurant called McDonald’s. OSI Group acquires Baho Food.

Before opening his franchise chain, Ray Kroc made an agreement, sealed with a handshake, with Otto and Sons to supply all the new franchises meat. As McDonald’s grew so did Otto &sons. With the advent of flash freezing technology in the 60’s, the company was produce more than ever before. In 1973, they opened up their first factory dedicated only to service in the franchise giant. In 1975, the company changed its name to OSI Industries. As McDonald’s spread out to the world, it followed. In the 1980’s and 1990s,’ it began to expand to a worldwide market.

By the end of the twentieth century, OSI Industries had facilities located in countries in South America, Europe, and Asia. With this global success, they moved out of the shadow of Chicago and McDonald’s, and took on new clients such as Starbucks, Papa Johns, Burger King, and Subway. The Chicago based meat supplier is now a force to be recognized with, a dominant player in the international meat supplying industry. The legacy of Otto Kolschowsky, the immigrant who fled Germany for a better life for himself and his family, is genuinely a shining example of someone working hard and achieving the American Dream.

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