OSI Group’s Rise: From McDonald’s First Burger Supplier to Food Giant

Back in 1955, a small company called Otto & Sons shook hands with Ray Kroc, the man behind McDonald’s. That handshake turned them into the first supplier of fresh burgers for McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois. Fast forward, and now they’re known as OSI Group. They don’t just make burgers; they cook all sorts of meat – like bacon, sausages, and even pepperoni. And it’s not just meat; they also make loads of pizza crusts, breads, snacks like taquitos, and even big pots of mac and cheese, soups, and beans.

OSI Group, a major player in the food manufacturing industry, possesses the capability to cook various meats to the desired finish, whether it’s browning, searing, or charring. Their range includes items like bacon, sausage patties and links, riblets, deli meats, meatballs, meatloaf, pepperoni, and salami. Beyond meat products, OSI can produce vast quantities of pizza crusts, flatbreads, paninis, taquitos, mac and cheese, and even soups, chili, and beans.

The company began its journey as the first supplier of fresh hamburger meat to the original McDonald’s franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois. This partnership, formed with a handshake agreement with Ray Kroc in 1955, marked the beginning of OSI’s expansion. Initially known as Otto & Sons, the company was offered the opportunity to become one of five national suppliers of frozen hamburger patties for McDonald’s, propelling its growth.

Recently, OSI, now one of the world’s largest contract food manufacturers, has seen a change in leadership. The company’s new Chairman, Steven Lavin, is steering it into a new era, a transition that I explore in my latest feature.

Read Profile: Who is Steven Lavin, the Chair of OSI Group?

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