OSI Group is the largest private food production company in the world. The company has its headquarters in Aurora, Illinois. OSI is led by chairman and CEO Sheldon Lavin, the longest-serving executive in the company. He is currently over 85 years. Under his watch, OSI has become a phenomenal business. From the small company it was when he joined in 1970, today it is a multinational with business operations in 17 countries.
OSI originate from the work of a German immigrant living in Chicago. Otto Kolschowsky started this business in 1909 as a butcher shop. He grew it into a wholesale business before finally making it a regional supplier of meat products. The company took a turn of a family-owned business after he brought this two sons into the business. It even changed its name to Otto & Sons.
In 1955, the first McDonald’s restaurant was opened in Illinois. It was being managed by Ray Kroc, who was a good friend of Arthur and Harry, the two sons of Otto. They got a contract to supply meat products to the restaurant. This deal was the starting point of rapid growth for OSI Group.
The McDonald’s restaurants started to increase in different parts of Illinois and neighboring states. It got to the point that they opened branches in polices far away from Illinois. Otto & Sons being one of the suppliers had to facilitate delivery of products to all the McDonald’s restaurants.
There was pressure on Otto & Sons to deliver more. To concentrate on this one valuable client they had, they split the business into two. Otto & Sons remained as a supplier to the McDonald’s while the other part was renamed and concentrated on serving other clients.
OSI Group was forced to build a production plant specifically to address the demand coming from McDonald’s. It was the first ever plant they owned. They later sought capitalization and managed to expand their business further. They moved international and stayed put until today.
OSI Group currently has over 20,000 employees in all its food production plant around the world. There are 65 plants in total.