OSI Group McDonalds: The History of a Modern Franchise

Currently, the OSI Group McDonalds is celebrating over 100 years of food processing innovation, a journey that started from a corner butchery shop to becoming a leading multinational food provider that has 65 facilities and over 20,000 employees in 17 countries. The rise of OSI Group McDonalds is part of the American Economic History of the 20th Century.

People of German descent at the turn of the 20th century made up a quarter of the Chicago, Illinois population. It is through Otto Kolschowsky, a member of the thriving German Community in Chicago at the time, that the OSI Group McDonalds is deeply rooted in the American Immigrant history. The city at the time of review was serving as an entry point of immigrants and as a center of industrialization for the nation.

Two years after arriving in the U.S, Kolschowsky opened a retail meat market and butcher shop aiming to serve his community. The business thrived, and in 1918 he expanded to wholesale and moved the enterprise to Maywood, a Chicago suburb. Two decades after its inception the enterprise was to follow a family-business immigrant specific trend and be renamed, Otto & Sons.

The sprouting of the modern suburbs brought about by the post-war economic expansion across the U.S released the held in demand and inventiveness in businesses. This lead to two small sized family businesses coming together, with Ray Kroc opening the first McDonalds in 1940 as an agent franchise for Richard and Maurice McDonald. The “Des Plaines” was the first expansion move by McDonald’s using the franchise model, and at the time, the concept was only taking hold in the US.

Before Kroc’s opening of the OSI Group McDonalds, he had made a previous agreement with Otto Kolschowsky’s sons to be the franchise’s first suppliers of fresh ground meat. This development in a few years would lead Kroc to buy out the McDonalds and go on to become the Chief Executive Officer of the McDonalds corporation, establishing the modern blueprint franchise model known today. Having Otto and Sons on board as the primary suppliers, the company was to become the current well-recognized brand.

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