Herb Lotman, Founder of Keystone Foods, Dies at 80

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

May 09, 2014

Herb Lotman, founder of Keystone Foods, the original and still a supplier of McDonald’s burger patties, poultry and fish, died May 8 from complications of heart failure. He was 80.

A Philadelphia native, Lotman began his career in the food industry with his family’s wholesale beef business. In the late 1960s, Lotman and partners pioneered cryogenics for McDonald’s and developed a mass-production system for the manufacture of frozen hamburgers. Keystone Foods developed and provided the first total distribution concept in the McDonald’s system, enabling restaurant owners to save time and focus on customer service. They also were instrumental in developing the Chicken McNugget in the1980s.

Today, Keystone has more than $5 billion in annual sales and operations in over 15 countries around the world. Six years ago, Lotman retired from Keystone Foods to spend his time working on charitable causes. 

In addition to being active in numerous charities, Lotman co-founded the McDonald’s LPGA Championship, a major women’s professional golf tournament, which benefits Ronald McDonald House Charities. This event raised more $48 million for the RMHC in the 29 years since its inauguration, making it the largest single fundraiser in all of golf. He also served on the International Board of the Ronald McDonald’s House Charities.

Lotman is survived by his wife Karen, two children and five grandchildren. Services will be Monday (May 12).