How OSI Group Became the 58th Largest Privately Owned Business Globally

When Sheldon Lavin took the helm of what would become OSI Group it was not yet a multinational company. Prior to his arrival, OSI had grown from a one-man butcher shop to one of the four main suppliers of frozen patties to McDonald’s. Lavin’s acumen as a banker and investor would turn OSI Group into a multinational food processing and restaurant supply company that realizes $6.1 billion in annual sales.

When the 1980’s rolled around OSI had already been in existence for seven decades. In 1909 an immigrant from Germany, Otto Kolschowsky opened a small butcher shop and grocery in a Chicago suburb. After Arthur and Harry Kolschowsky were born the business became Oscar and Sons. With the company’s incorporation in 1975, Otto and Sons became OSI. A chance encounter between the brothers Kolschowsky and McDonald’s Corp. founder Ray Kroc made OSI one of McDonald’s original suppliers. Innovation made the company one of McDonald’s main suppliers and more

In the 1960’s as McDonald’s expanded and the patties were shipped further, they had to remain fresh longer. To meet that challenge OSI adopted flash freezing. The first plant the Kolschowskys built just to supply McDonald’s opened in 1973. When McDonald’s went global OSI went in search of expansion capital to keep up with the increased demand for burgers. They received financing with the caveat that Sheldon Lavin would oversee the expansion.

A joint venture with Taiwan based K&K Foods was OSI Group’s first foray into overseas markets. Later OSI would expand its presence in Asia by partnering with Golden Arches Development Corp. to form GenOSI in the Philippines. A beef processing plant in Japan would follow later.Through the late 90’s and early 2000’s OSI Group increased its poultry processing operation by acquiring poultry companies in the US and UK.In order to keep a reign on its ever expanding supply chain, OSI established MPO Global Trade, GmbH. Based in Germany the letters MPO stand for “meat, poultry, and other”.

In 2016 OSI Group increased its European presence with three acquisitions. They acquired Bahoo Food that had production facilities in the Netherlands and Germany. Flag Ship Europe a UK based company would become Creative Foods Europe after OSI acquired it. The Germany company Hynek Schlachthof GmbH became an OSI holding. Today, the OSI Group supplies multiple restaurant chains. Papa John’s, Yum, Burger King, and others have joined McDonald’s on OSI’s list of customers.

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