Browse Category: Health Food

OSI Group Continues Its Global Expansion

When Otto Kolschowsky opened up a small retail meat market and butcher shop on Chicago’s West Side in 1909, he could have never guessed that more than a hundred years later, his company would be a world-wide food provider with more than 10,000 employees across the world. And yet you can still see reminders of that original business in its current incarnation, the OSI Group.

Within two years of opening his initial business, Kolschowsky expanded into the meat wholesaling business and within a decade it had expanded again and the company was renamed Otto & Sons. And it was Otto’s sons who negotiated the deal that launched the company into a national business. Just as Ray Kroc was beginning to build the McDonald’s restaurant chain, he and Otto’s two sons made a deal to supply regional McDonald’s with burgers. Over the next two decades that relationship expanded until Otto & Sons became one of McDonald’s four core suppliers. In 1975, the two Kolschowsky sons were ready to retire and as an outside CEO was brought in for the first time, the company reflected the move by changing its name to OSI Group.

In the decades since, the company has continued to expand and is now a truly global food provider. By the beginning of the 21st Century the company operated a global network of processing plants. And as OSI Group has increased its attention in recent years on Europe and China, it’s also moved into value-added protein products ranging from sausages to pizzas.

OSI Global’s most recent move has been in Australia, where it merged its Australian unit with Australian poultry farming and processing company Turi Foods. The 50/50 merger expands the OSI Group reach in the Australian market, which is one of the company’s fastest-growing markets. Otto Kolschowsky would no doubt be shocked by the reach of the company he founded more than 100 years ago. But he would recognize the company culture, which continues to focus on quality and innovation and more

A Friendship Turns Into a Business

Nathaniel Ru clicked with two of his college classmates at Georgetown University: Jonathan and Nicholas. The three used to go out of the campus looking for dinner that was healthy in a place that was fun and easy. Unfortunately, they never found their desired eating point since most of the restaurants in the town offered fast foods that were most times served in ordinary settings. Consequently, the three most times ended up eating indoors as they could not stand the food sold in the town.

They felt that there was a niche market that was unsatisfied as they were: those that were looking for healthy food. Consequently the three friends came up with a business idea and decided to start a restaurant that would fill the existing gap. They gave it the name ‘greens’, although this changed when they came up with the core value of ‘sweetness’, which they also made the prefix of the business name.

Nathaniel, Nicholas and Jonathan identified the tavern in which they wanted the restaurant to be located. Consequently, they looked for the landlord’s number, but when they called and explained their mission he hung up the phone on them. The implication of the above was that the idea was unrealistic.

The three did not have any other alternative so they decided to continue pursuing the landlord on the same. They called him daily for a span of 3 months and he refused to pick their calls. However, he was finally tired of their nagging and he decided to meet the three final year students face to face.

When they met, the three brought a 3 page business plan and explained their vision to the tavern landlord. He must have seen their enthusiasm and decided to give them a chance. He asked the three to come up with a more detailed business plan and look for investors and an architect. It took the three lads only 3 weeks to come up with the landlord’s requirements and within no time the business was started.

Sweetgreen has grown to be a household name in the span if the 10 years it’s been in operations. The business has 5 core values : impact, sweetness, sustainability, win win win and keeping it real. The business co-founders believe in doing something that will outlive them.

Nathaniel Ru

Nathaniel Ru is a business investor as well as entrepreneur who is based in New York. He is the co-founder and Co-CEO at the Sweetgreen Restaurant.

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