The long history of OSI dates back to 1909 and a small neighborhood butcher shop in the West Chicago suburb of Oak Park. Otto Kolschowsky, specializing in German meat products, soon earned a global business reputation for quality and consistency. Otto capitalized on his reputation to branch out into wholesale, supplying meats to restaurants and groceries throughout the Chicago area, under the Glenmark brand. Eventually, the small neighborhood butcher shop grew into one of the world’s biggest, and most innovative food providers.Ultimately, Otto Kolchowsky brought his two sons, Arthur and Harry, into the business.
It was their reputation for high quality product that led Ray Kroc to choose Otto & Sons as the initial supplier to the new McDonald’s restaurants in Illinois. It was innovation that brought Otto & Sons from one of many McDonald’s meat suppliers to one of only four nationwide suppliers.In the 1970s, Otto & Sons quickly became two companies in one. One branch of the company, changing its name to OSI Group, was growing with the rapidly expanding McDonald’s restaurant trade. The other branch, as Glenmark, maintained its local wholesale trade. OSI Group marked its growth from a small butcher shop to a high tech company operating on massive economies of scale.
Soon, OSI Group built a state-of-the-art processing plant in West Chicago, Illinois. The plant, built solely to supply McDonald’s restaurants, included technologically advanced machinery for the cryogenic processing of hamburger patties. Flash freezing the patties with liquid nitrogen allows them to be transported over great distances with no loss of quality. In 1977, OSI opened a new facility in West Jordan, Utah, its first plant outside of Illinois.With Arthur and Harry Kolschowsky approaching retirement, they convinced an investment consultant Sheldon Lavin to accept a position as a participating partner. Lavin became acquainted with OSI Group while serving as a counselor for their capitalization efforts. As the new leader of OSI Group, Lavin helped grow the company into the multinational conglomerate it is today.