OSI Group has a history that dates back to the turn of the 20th century, starting out as a small corner butcher shop. The business was established by Otto Kolschowsky in 1909, a member of the German-immigrant community in the city of Chicago, Illinois. The city was thriving at the time and was considered a center of industry for the country and also a good entry point for immigrants who want to establish farms. From those humble beginnings, OSI Group is nowadays considered a leading multinational food provider, having 65 facilities in 17 countries and a total of 20,000 employees.
While the company experienced steady business from the beginning, it was the OSI Group McDonalds partnership that brought both companies to new heights and made them global entities. The first McDonald’s restaurant was opened in Des Plaines, Illinois in 1955 by Ray Kroc, who worked as a franchise agent. The opening of the restaurant in Des Plains marked the first step in the company’s expansion via the franchising model, which was a concept that was starting to take a hold of the country at that time.
Prior to opening the original McDonald’s however, Kroc entered into an agreement that saw OSI Group become the business’ first supplier of fresh ground beef. The OSI Group McDonalds agreement proved to be fruitful for both companies. Kroc ended up buying McDonalds within a few years, and became the company’s Chief Executive Officer. As the new restaurant chain was starting to take off, so did the business for OSI Group. The number of regional restaurants that McDonald’s was opening was growing, and the task of supplying them with produce became the main priority of OSI.
As a result of the OSI Group McDonalds link, once the restaurant chain broke into international territories, OSI Group rode shotgun. The venture took OSI to Germany in 1978 and later to Spain in 1980. While the OSI Group McDonalds partnership was still in effect, the increasing business allowed OSI to expand and become a global entity in its own right, and not centered only around McDonald’s, that remained a major customer.