Otto Kolschowsky migrated to the United States from Germany in 1909. A couple of years later he opened a meat market with his family in Oak Park, Illinois. Otto quickly gained a reputation for supplying a great product in a timely manner. His operation soon expanded beyond its small business roots. He named his growing enterprise Otto and Sons and began distributing meat throughout the Oak Park area to other food organizations. The company eventually crossed paths with Ray Kroc in the nineteen-fifties. Ray Kroc was the CEO of McDonald’s.
McDonald’s was a fast growing restaurant chain that was opening a new restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois. Kroc chose Otto & Sons to be their meat supplier in that area. Otto and Sons developed a strong relationship with the McDonald’s CEO. They brought several innovations to the meat distribution industry. Cryogenic freezing was a new method for storing food products for long periods of time while maintaining their freshness.
The company applied this practice to their business in order to maintain the large amounts of product that McDonald’s continue to demand. They also introduced the patty cutting machine. This gave them the ability to provide McDonald’s with meat in the manner they preferred it. Such sharp business practices endeared Otto and Sons to Ray Kroc. McDonald’s soon became an international phenomenon. By this point Otto and Sons was its exclusive meat supplier.
Otto and Sons changed its name to OSI Industries in 1975. They opened a plant in West Chicago and continued to expand operations. There are currently 65 plants operating in 17 different countries. OSI supplies meat patties, bacon, hot dogs, pork, poultry, and vegetable products. It has added other major food chains to its customer list such as Papa John’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Subway.