Oscar F. Mayer was a German immigrant who founded a meat-packing business in Chicago. His company was called Oscar Mayer and Company.
From only a dozen employees in 1919, Mayer’s workforce grew to nearly 8,000 in 1955.
Together with his brothers, Mayer turned a flagging meat market in the north side of Chicago into a huge success. Mayer’s exceptional business performance record qualifies him as a business leader in anybody’s book.
Oscar F. Mayer – the Meat of the Matter…
Oscar F. Mayer hit it big time when he bought a rundown Chicago meat market. A skilled Wurstmacher, Mayer was able to quickly turn the Kolling Meat Market’s dismal sales numbers into more positive ones. He prepared various house specialties – from liverwurst to weiswurst to brockwurst. All these were favorites of the mostly German-descent residents.
Mayer had built himself up as a respected local merchant. A few years later, Mayer established his own store a couple of blocks south of his store’s former location with the help of the $10,000 he had borrowed from friends and the bank.
Mayer devised easily identifiable brand names for his hams, sausages and bacon. The concept of branding meat varieties was extremely progressive for someone who was just a small town meat packer. Back then big packing houses were still selling their products incognito or anonymously!
By 1900, demand for Mayer’s scrumptious sausages had grown so high that the store was delivering goods via horse-drawn wagons throughout Chicago and the suburbs. Shoppers were inquiring about Mayer products by name, pushing Mayer to expand to larger markets. The lure of innovative and convenient food products drove Oscar Mayer to become a national brand.
By 1948, the firm launched what would be the precursor of modern self-serve bacon meat packages. In 1950, Oscar Mayer and Company reinvented its original product, the sausage. It packed sliced cold cuts in vacuum-sealed wraps. Re-sealable packages were introduced a decade later. Mayer valued freshness and by 1971, was the first meat processor to place use by dates on packed meats.
Oscar Mayer’s creative product development persisted until the late ’80s. He retired from the company’s presidency in 1928 and his son took over. Mayer chaired the board till his death on March 11, 1955.
The Oscar F. Mayer Quick Bio
Full Name: Oscar Ferdinand Mayer
Birth Date: March 29, 1859
Birth Place: Bavaria, Germany
Company: Oscar Mayer and Company
Key Success Traits: heart, determination, salesmanship and magnetic personality
Near the end of Oscar Mayer’s tenure, his company’s yearly sales were pegged at a cool $225 million – not bad for a former meat packer.
In 1988, the Mayer company came out with new treats to make kids’ lunches more interesting. Lunchables lunch combinations and snacks were introduced. T
he product effectively changed the boring brown-bag lunches into great lunchtime experiences.