Food Processing

OSI Group Was Created By A German Immigrant Whose Business Skills Were Second To None

OSI Group started out as a small butcher shop and meat market in Chicago in Oak Park in 1909. The company was created by Otto Kolschowsky who had recently immigrated from Germany. People loved what he offered, so much, that he decided to expand into wholesale and also opened up another shop in Maywood. In 1928, he changed the name of his company to Otto & Sons due to the fact that his two sons were now working with him. For years to come, Otto’s company did very well as a local business that served a niche market. Visit

Years later, Otto Kolschowsky made a deal with McDonald’s, which was also in its early beginnings as a fast food franchise. This deal made OSI Group one of the company’s earliest providers of meat. The deal had been made with Ray Kroc, who later purchased McDonald’s and took over as its CEO. As McDonald’s grew larger, so did Otto & Sons, and when new technology came into existence that made refrigeration less costly and easier to do, the company jumped on the opportunity to do even more. This move inspired Ray Kroc to cut down on the amount of meat suppliers that McDonald’s used, which meant that Otto & Sons became one of just four suppliers for the growing fast food colossus.


During the 1970s, Otto & Sons began to grow rapidly, and the company built a facility that was dedicated to providing McDonald’s with the products it needed. The facility was taking advantage of new technology that allowed it to flash freeze hamburger patties, and in 1975 Otto & Sons became OSI Group. On top of this, the family-ran business decided to hire more outside help, and this is when Sheldon Lavin came aboard. He had been working with OSI as an investment consultant and was a large part of the deals that had been made with McDonald’s. As the two sons of Otto Kolschowsky were getting ready to retire, Lavin was just beginning to get to work for OSI Group. Today, the company has facilities all over North America and the rest of the world and is a top American food company.