In 1907, Otto Kolschowsky joined the rapidly growing German population in Chicago’s West Side Within two years, he had opened his own butcher shop specializing in traditional meat products. Within ten years, he had expanded the business to the point of opening a wholesale side, under the Glenmark brand, catering to restaurants and grocery stores. By 1928, Otto had brought his two sons into the food business and changed the name to Otto and Sons, then later OSI Group.In 1955, Ray Kroc was still a franchise agent for California, brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald, looking to expand McDonald’s restaurants into the mid-west using the then novel approach of operator-owned franchises.
As soldiers returned home from World War II and started families, the two small, little-known businesses, McDonald’s and about OSI Group, were positioned at the right time and place to take full advantage of the rapidly expanding demand for affordable, family-friendly restaurants.When he opened the first Mid-Western McDonald’s, Ray Kroc already had an agreement in place for Otto’s two sons, Arthur and Harry Kolschowsky, to supply the new McDonald’s with fresh ground beef patties. Along the way, OSI Group, built a global business reputation for consistent quality since Kroc’s franchising model demanded the each and every burger offer the same quality.
This pressured OSI Group to develop a process to preserve the quality of ground beef so that it could be transported over the increasing distances while maintaining a consistent quality.In the 60s, Otto & Sons turned to the innovative technique of flash freezing, a cryogenic preservation method using liquid nitrogen, enabling them to safeguard quality for extended periods of time.Soon, Ray Kroc would buy out the McDonald brothers and become the sole leader of McDonald’s corporation. McDonald’s became the primary customer for Otto & Sons, now OSI Group, helping the meat supplier to transition from a regional supplier to a national supplier, and eventually to an international supplier of beef, pork, and chicken products from sausage links, to chicken nuggets, to pizza toppings, the list goes on and on.