Out of all the Fortune 100 companies in America, one of the least frequently mentioned is OSI group. Founded more than 100 years ago, OSI group has built a globally competitive food service company that built its empire by combining modern technology and the latest techniques with the classic principles they were founded on.
OSI group’s success becomes obvious once you understand their first major client. OSI got in on the ground floor in 1955 by being the hamburger patty supplier for Ray Kroc and his new franchise restaurant McDonald’s. With nothing more than a handshake, Otto Kolschowsky and Ray Kroc formed what would become one of the most stable and profitable long-term business partnerships of all time.
As McDonald’s grew and expanded across the country OSI group became one of over 150 different suppliers. For many, this would be considered a big success, but this wasn’t the case for CEO Sheldon Lavin. Impressed by modern cryogenic technology and automation, Sheldon Lavin made a bold move and invested heavily into these technologies.
This technological advantage made it possible for them to ship their products Coast to Coast, all while keeping prices lower than all of their competitors. Much like how Ray Kroc only trusted Otto Kolschowsky, Sheldon Lavin was able to instill the same amount of trust, prompting McDonald’s to make OSI group the sole provider for McDonald’s. Since then OSI group has become the 58th largest company in America with annual revenue over 6.1 billion dollars per year.
OSI group may look to the future in terms of technology and innovation, but their business practices follow much more classic approach. For other companies that try to stay innovative management tends to be a revolving door. This is not the case at OSI group; Sheldon Lavin has managed the company for more than fifty years and is directly responsible for much of the growth.
The stability doesn’t apply to just management. OSI group stands out as an industry leader in employee retention at all levels as well. This is the result of the family-oriented environment that has been part of the company philosophy since Otto Kolschowsky started over a hundred years ago.
It may seem almost impossible to expand beyond being the number one meat provider to the number one hamburger restaurant in the world, OSI group has successfully begun expanding its operations overseas. Time will tell if they can bring the same growth formula and family environment to a brand new country and a completely different culture.
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