It was in 1978 that OSI Group set up operations in the United Kingdom. It was to be the primary supplier of fresh red meats to McDonald’s restaurants in points across Great Britain.
The OSI Group McDonalds connection dates back to the mid-1950s. It is among the most legendary joint venture partnerships in American business. At the time, OSI was still a small family-owned business known as Otto & Sons. The “Sons” were Harry and Arthur Kolschowsky. Their father, German immigrant Otto Kolschowsky, set up his one-man meat shop in a Chicago suburb in 1909.
By the 1950s, Otto & Sons had become a larger, yet still regional fixture in the greater Chicago area. But a sterling reputation for safety, quality and wholesomeness attracted the attention of an aggressive businessman by the name of Ray Kroc. He was about to set up the very first franchise model of McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois. He tapped Otto & Sons to be his supplier of fresh beef patties. The OSI Group McDonalds connection has been forged and the rest is history.
The explosive growth of the McDonald’s concept meant that Otto & Sons had hitched their wagon to a partner which would help them achieve their own growth potential. By the 1970s, Otto & Sons had become a major American meat processing firm and changed its identity to OSI Group.
After more than two decades, the OSI Group McDonalds partnership had become strongly fused in a symbiotic fashion. It was a natural decision for McDonald’s to bring OSI along with them to the U.K. to continue a relationship that had long been one of mutual trust, profit and respect.
In 2007, the OSI Group McDonalds manufacturing operation in the U.K. was consolidated to a single location in Scunthorpe. The reason for this was to increase operational efficiency, bolster economies of scale and combine all expertise under one roof.
The OSI Group facility is located on the outskirts of Scunthorpe, a city of about 82,000 residents in North Lincolnshire. The OSI building, manufacturing and storage areas make up some 16,000 square meters. The total site boundary with gardens is 36,000 square meters. We visited a meat-processing factory to find out exactly how McDonald’s hamburgers are made