OSI Industries is a Quintessential American Success Story

OSI (Oscar and Sons Inc.) Industries is a purveyor of processed and frozen foods and restaurant supplies. Their first and for two decades only corporate customer was McDonald’s. From the 1970’s until today OSI went from only producing hamburger patties for McDonald’s to selling a diverse line of food products to supermarkets and restaurant chains like Papa John’s, Yum, and Starbucks.

Globally, OSI Industries owns 64 production facilities. The company’s production methods are geared towards minimizing their environmental impact. These efforts have garnered OSI multiple awards honoring the company’s commitment to the environment.

A quintessential American success story in 1909 what would become OSI Industries started out as a small independent butcher shop and grocery store in Chicago. Until the mid-1950’s Otto and Sons would remain a relatively small but successful neighborhood business.

In 1955 Arthur and Harry Kolschowsky, the sons in Otto and Sons met Ray Kroc who had just purchased the original McDonald’s restaurant. On the strength of a handshake, the Kolschowskys became a provider of hamburgers to Kroc’s new enterprise.

As the McDonald’s corporation expanded through the sixties and seventies Otto and Sons had to expand with them. The Kolschowskys built their first plant for the sole purpose of supplying McDonald’s in 1973.

In the early 1980’s it was time for what was now Otto and Sons Incorporated to grow again. This lead to former bank executive and current OSI Industries CEO Sheldon Lavin reluctantly joining the company. The only way that the Kolschowskys could secure financing to expand was if Lavin was willing to oversee the expansion.

From then until now OSI would grow by leaps and bound. The company’s North American operation would add seven facilities from coast to coast. When OSI purchased a defunct Tyson Foods plant former Tyson employees were offered the chance to work for OSI. Because of Sheldon Lavin’s commitment to social responsibility, 300 jobs were saved in the Chicago area.

Doing business with McDonald’s taught OSI the importance of communication, between supplier and customer. That communication helps OSI meet the customer’s needs exactly.

Under Lavin’s tenure, OSI Industries has established and is expanding its presence in 16 countries in Europe and Asia. In 2016 they acquired the Netherlands based Baho Food. OSI also has facilities in Taiwan and Japan. With 200,000 employees and $6.1 billion in annual revenue, OSI is the 58th largest company in the world according to Forbes.

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