In 1909, a German immigrant named Otto Kolschowsky opened a little butcher shop in the Oak Park community of Chicago. He used his retail meat market to serve his community, but his business began growing more than expected. Otto took advantage of his popularity and grew his company across the city.
By the end of the First World War, Otto’s store was a major meat supplier throughout the city. After moving operations to another community, he expanded the company into wholesale supplying. Chicago’s thriving immigrant influences made Otto a regional success within ten more years of moving to Maywood.
Near the end of the Second World War, many immigrant businesses began changing their names. Otto rebranded his company as Otto & Sons, also using the opportunity to bring his sons into the company. When he passed the business on to them, they continued growing the company regionally.
After a few years in charge, the brothers went into business with Ray Kroc. Ray Kroc was a franchise agent working with Richard and Maurice McDonald. With their permission, he opened a restaurant called McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois. The first McDonald’s had hundreds of suppliers, as Kroc needed lots of fresh ground beef.
Otto & Sons was the first supplier he formed a partnership with, creating the OSI Group McDonalds that exists today. After realizing they could never keep up with Kroc’s demand, the brothers invested in cryogenic freezing technology. In 1973, they built a plant solely dedicated to producing products for McDonald’s.
From that point, OSI Group McDonalds grew and expanded as one. As McDonald’s became everyone’s favorite family restaurant, Otto & Sons transformed into OSI Industries. OSI created a separate division that continues supplying McDonald’s, and OSI Group McDonalds became America’s strongest alliance.
Two years after cementing their relationship McDonald’s, the brothers retired and named Sheldon Lavin CEO of OSI Industries. Lavin expanded across 17 countries and opened 65 facilities worldwide, employing over 20,000 employees. Later, David McDonald joined the company as President.
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