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The History of OSI Industries and McDonald’s

OSI Industries has been making innovations in the food industry for an entire century. What started as a small butcher shop now has 20,000 employees in 17 different countries. OSI Industries became a significant part of economic history in the United States. Even today, they are still growing as part of the global economy.

In Chicago in the year 1909, Otto Kolschowsky opened up a butcher shop and meat market. As a German immigrant, he was a part of a community that made up around 25% of Chicago at the time. He had only arrived in the United States just 2 years before he opened up his successful shop that would grow to be OSI Industries. The first expansion of his business happened at the conclusion of World War I when he moved his business to Maywood in Chicago. In the year 1928, when his sons became a bigger part of the family business, he renamed the meat market to Otto & Sons. A Century of Innovation at OSI Group.

Things really took off for the business after the war. People had more expendable income and convenience was becoming a big factor in everyday life. Around this time, another staple of business was born in the United States, McDonald’s. When the brand only consisted of a few stores, one of their owners, Ray Kroc, made a deal with Harry and Arthur Kolschowsky, the sons of Otto, that they would supply the meat for restaurants. When Ray Kroc bought out McDonald’s and became their CEO, he did not neglect the handshake agreement that he had made with the brothers. This development changed the future of OSI Industries and led to rapid expansion as the demand for McDonald’s products grew exponentially throughout the United States.

The future OSI Industries quickly needed to figure out a way to provide a product that would be consistent and a good price for the affordable food chain. Transportation was a big concern for the company as they had to make sure that the product remained fresh when it arrived at its destination. With the advent of flash freezing, a process that involves the use of liquid nitrogen, the business was changed forever. Suddenly, it became possible to ship the hamburgers across the country without there being any loss in quality or taste. Over the next several years, OSI continued to expand and became one of only four main meat suppliers to McDonald’s.

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