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How the Partnership with McDonalds Impacted the History of OSI Group


From humble beginnings as a corner butcher shop, OSI Group became a leading multinational food provider. The company was launched at the beginning of the 20th century in 1909 by Otto Kolschowsky, a member of the German-immigrant community of Chicago. The small retail meat market and butcher shop experienced stability in the following years and it was a vital part of the community.

OSI Group was among the first meat suppliers for McDonald’s, and the OSI Group McDonalds alliance proved to be fruitful for both entities. Ray Kroc opened the original McDonald’s restaurant back in 1955 in Des Plaines. At the time, Kroc was a franchise agent for a Californian couple who founded a family restaurant in 1940. The restaurant opened in Des Plaines was the first step towards McDonald’s expansion through franchising model, which was a concept that was becoming popular in the United States at the time.

Before the restaurant was opened, Kroc entered into an agreement with OSI to be the franchise’s supplier of fresh ground beef. As the McDonald’s corporation took off, so did the OSI Group McDonalds partnership, as the food provider was riding shotgun with what would become one of the most popular brands in the world.

Due to the fact that the pressure was on OSI to produce a consistent and affordable product that could be transported over long distances to the ever-growing number of McDonald’s restaurants, the company took advantage of the technological breakthrough of the 1960s in order to make their task easier – a decision which made the OSI Group McDonalds partnership even closer. OSI employed the process of flash freezing, which was a new technique at the time that created new opportunities for product expansion and cost reduction within the industry.

As a result of the tight OSI Group McDonalds alliance, OSI became one of the 4 core suppliers of the restaurant chain, and in 1973 the company even built a plant dedicated to McDonald’s product line – the plant included advanced machinery designed for flash freezing hamburger patties. Despite the fact that OSI Group expanded over time and became a global entity in its own right, the partnership with McDonald’s is a big part of the company’s history.

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